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Is Donald Trump treating his Supreme Court pick like an episode of ‘The Apprentice’?

It's like an episode of reality TV, although why we can't comprehend.


David Covucci


Published Jan 31, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 2:29 am CDT

If you thought President Donald Trump’s penchant for doing things the only way he knows how would end when he entered 1600 Pennsylvania, you’d be very, very wrong. 

On Tuesday night, Trump is set to announce his pick for the Supreme Court. The seat was left vacant throughout the election, after Antonin Scalia died and Republicans kept former President Barack Obama‘s nominee, Merrick Garland, from receiving a hearing. 

Early reports indicate that Trump wants this evening to be suspenseful, dramatic, and with the attention of the nation on him. 

Thus, he is bringing in two possible picks to keep the media guessing. 

Anyway, if the president wants his Supreme Court reveal to be suspenseful, so be it. It’s a highly irrelevant and inconsequential sideshow.

What’s more important is who he actually picks. 

The reported choices are Neil Gorsuch, a Colorado justice who sits on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and sided with Hobby Lobby in the infamous Supreme Court case on religious freedoms and women’s reproductive rights. In the decision, he made an oblique reference to abortion, saying that the Obamacare mandate shouldn’t force companies with certain religious beliefs to “underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg” 

Gorsuch graduated from Columbia University before attending Havard Law. He is considered to be a stout conservative, known for writing decisions with forceful prose, a la Antonin Scalia.

Also in the running is Thomas Hardiman, from the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia, who once ruled it was alright for police to strip search anyone they detain, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court. He also decided that the First Amendment does not apply to citizens filming police officers. 

Hardiman had never ruled on a reproductive rights case, according to Time. He graduated from Notre Dame and Georgetown Law. 

Both candidates, though, have left the right concerned. 

Politico reports that Gorsuch isn’t as beholden to conservative principles as some would want.  

“Like Justice Scalia, he sometimes reaches results that favor liberals when he thinks the history or text of the Constitution or the law require it, especially in areas like criminal law or the rights of religious minorities, but unlike Scalia he’s less willing to defer to regulations and might be more willing to second-guess Trump’s regulatory decision,” said Jeffrey Rosen of the National Constitution Center.

Hardiman has left some conservatives worried that, after being nominated, he could move left, a la David Souter, who was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush but eventually became a permanent fixture of the court’s liberal bloc.

profile of Hardiman unearthed by Vox says that Hardiman doesn’t have “set ideas about particular hot-button issues that would lead him to pre-judge a case that came before him [and that] the idea of a Court nominee who doesn’t have ‘set ideas about particular hot-button issues’” should make Republicans nervous. 

President Trump is set to announce his decision at 8pm ET. 

And knowing everything we know—and how Trump likes to keep the media guessing—there is a non-zero chance it could be someone else entirely. 

Heck, maybe he’ll nominate the bobcat

H/T BuzzFeed

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*First Published: Jan 31, 2017, 2:38 pm CST