By Dave Andrusko
You likely recall on January 11, at pro-life President Donald Trump’s first formal press conference following his election, he told reporters, “I’ll be making the decision on who we will put for justice of the United States Supreme Court, a replacement for the great, great justice Scalia, that will probably be within two weeks of the 20th. I’ll be making that decision, and it’ll be a decision which I very strongly believe in.”
Today, ahead of a meeting with Senate leaders to discuss the vacancy, Trump told reporters, “We will pick a truly great Supreme Court justice.” Asked about a timetable, the President said, “Probably making my decision this week, we’ll be announcing next week.”
Pro-life Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was joined at the White House by pro-abortion Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), pro-life Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa), and pro-abortion ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.)
POLITICO reported, “McConnell said on the Senate floor that Trump invited them to the White House ‘as part of his ongoing consultations with Members of the Senate. I appreciate the president soliciting our advice on this important matter.’”
Leonard Leo, one of Trump’s advisers on the Supreme Court pick and Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society, told the Associated Press’s Julie Pace, “The president wants to move as quickly as he can.”
USA Today reported, “The [Senate] Judiciary Committee eventually will conduct hearings on Trump’s nominee, most likely in March.”
Mr. Trump said his first nominee would be from 21 potential nominees whose names were included on two separate lists. Who is among the very top tier makes for interesting speculation but from our single-issue perspective, the most important assurance is Mr. Trump’s promise to nominate only pro-lifers to the High Court.
At that same January 11 press conference, President Trump underlined the importance of the Supreme Court to his victory:
I think it’s one of the reasons I got elected, I think the people of this country did not want to see what was happening with the Supreme Court, so I think it was a very, very big decision as to why I was elected.
Earlier this month, appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, Sen. Schumer flatly announced Senate Democrats are prepared to block “out of the mainstream” Supreme Court nominees.
“We are not going to make it easy for them to pick a Supreme Court justice,” he said, adding, “It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we [Democrats] could support.”
But according to POLITICO, “Leo said Trump was unconcerned with Schumer’s threatened blockade.”