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Originally planned for later this week, perhaps on Thursday, the announcement of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia will be made on Tuesday evening. Many have speculated that the announcement was moved from Thursday to Tuesday so as to provide something else for the press to talk about other than Trump’s recent executive order concerning travel bans from various terror-sponsoring nations.

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Business Insider reveals some background on one of the finalists who hasn’t gotten much attention, Thomas Hardiman:

Thomas Hardiman, a 51-year-old judge who sits on the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals, has caught the attention of observers to fill the void left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia for several reasons.

With Democrats threatening to block Trump’s Supreme Court pick, it’s noteworthy that Hardiman was voted onto the appeals court in 2007 by a 95-0 tally. Both Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted to approve him.

Hardiman also has the backing of Trump’s closest judicial source: his sister.

Maryanne Trump Barry, a fellow 3rd Circuit judge, holds a high opinion of Hardiman. As an adviser who spoke with the president told Politico, “Maryanne is high on Hardiman.”

And those who know the conservative judge say there’s another trait that could be attractive to Trump.

Hardiman wasn’t even on the list I compiled last week, so he enters the mix as sort of a dark horse. It appears that Trump’s decision is being made in large part based on which name will make it through Senate confirmation without the threat of filibuster. On Monday, Senate Democrats appeared poised to filibuster the nominee, no matter which name was submitted. However, they have since backed off that threat:

Democrats are now concerned over the risks of filibustering President Donald Trump’s forthcoming Supreme Court nominee.

Trump announced Monday morning he would present his high court pick Tuesday and Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley responded that whoever it is, his party would filibuster the nominee.

“This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat,” Merkley said in an interview with Politico Monday. “We will use every lever in our power to stop this.

However, according to CNN, Democrats discussed during a private retreat in West Virginia last week that blocking Trump’s Supreme Court nominee — who would replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia — is potentially unwise and it would be better if they saved their big battle over the Supreme Court for when the seat of a more left-leaning justice opens up.

No matter which candidate is nominated, they will face a rigorous grilling over the expected topics like abortion, gun rights, and gay marriage. Other topics will include immigration restrictions, border security, and various civil rights issues. I’d expect many answers which consist of something like, “I cannot comment on a case which may eventually come before the court.”

The announcement is set to come this evening around 8pm ET from the White House.

Update

Multiple sources are claiming that Judge Neil Gorsuch is the pick. This from IJReview.com:

Two high-ranking administration sources have confirmed to Independent Journal Review that President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick is Colorado Judge Neil Gorsuch.

Gorsuch, who recently traveled to Washington, D.C., was put on Trump’s short list for the appointment after he met with the then-president elect after the 2016 election.

Speaking on background, an administration source instrumental to the SCOTUS selection process tells IJR, “Yes. It is Gorsuch. 100 percent. The Hardiman thing is a head fake.” Thomas Hardiman is the other Judge Trump was considering for the vacancy, who is also in Washington, D.C.

A second source within the Trump administration confirmed IJR’s reporting.

The source claims that Judge Gorsuch will join the president Tuesday night at the White House at 8 PM for the announcement.

This could still change obviously since the announcement has yet to be made.

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