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Trump's Two Supreme Court Finalists Head To D.C.

On the night that President Donald Trump is set to announce his nominee to for the Supreme Court, the two presumed front-runners will be in Washington D.C. awaiting the announcement.

On Jan. 30, Trump announced on Twitter that he would announce his SCOTUS Justice nominee on live television the next evening, echoing his showmanship as a former reality television host.

"I have made my decision on who I will nominate for the United States Supreme Court," Trump tweeted out. "It will be announced live on Tuesday at 8:00 P.M. (W.H.)."

On Jan. 31, the two most likely nominees, Judges Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman, set off for Washington D.C. to be present for the president's announcement, CNN reports.

Sources familiar with the president's decision have stated that Gorsuch has been informed that he is the front-runner but that Trump has reserved the ability to change his mind up until his announcement.

If nominated and confirmed by Congress, Gorsuch or Hardiman would fill the seat vacated by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2015. Former President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat, but Senate Republicans denied him a hearing.

The blockade against Garland had sparked national controversy. Professor Jason Mazzone of the University of Illinois, who co-wrote a study examining any precedent for denying a president's SCOTUS nominee a hearing, noted that the Senate Republicans' snubbing of Garland had no historical precedent.

"You really cannot find any single comparable case," Mazzone told The New York Times. "We really did not find any precedent for the idea ... that a sitting president could be denied outright the authority to offer up a nominee who would receive evaluation through normal Senate processes."

Both Gorsuch and Hardiman would fit the conservative leanings of Scalia, so Senate Republicans' efforts to maintain their ideological advantage on the bench may pay off.

The 49-year-old Gorsuch is a graduate of Columbia, Harvard and Oxford. He has served on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado. Jeffrey Rosen of the National Constitution Center believes that Gorsuch would be a fitting successor to Scalia.

"The real appeal of [the] Gorsuch nomination is [that] he's likely to be the most effective nominee in terms of winning over Anthony Kennedy and forging conservative decisions on the court," Rosen told Politico.

Meanwhile, 51-year-old Hardiman graduated from Notre Dame and Georgetown. He has served on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Pennsylvania and is a former peer of the president's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who has reportedly lobbied for his nomination.

"[Hardiman] has a somewhat quiet demeanor about him," said Nancy Winkelman, former president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. "He gives off the impression that he is a very careful human being."

Sources: CNN, Donald J. Trump/Twitter, The New York TimesPolitico (2) / Photo Credit: Okculaw/Flickr

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