WASHINGTON — Setting up a high-stakes legal and political battle, President Trump said Monday he will announce his Supreme Court choice in a prime-time address Tuesday night, two days earlier than initially scheduled.
Trump did not disclose the identity of his nominee, but told reporters that his pick is “unbelievably highly respected” and people will be “very impressed” by the selection.
The scheduling announcement came via Trump’s Twitter feed: :I have made my decision on who I will nominate for The United States Supreme Court. It will be announced live on Tuesday at 8:00 P.M. (W.H.).”
I have made my decision on who I will nominate for The United States Supreme Court. It will be announced live on Tuesday at 8:00 P.M. (W.H.)
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
Trump’s nominee will likely face intense opposition from Democrats in the Senate, where Republicans who hold a slim, 52-seat majority blocked former president Barack Obama’s choice of federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland last year.
Trump made his scheduling announcement as he and aides continue to defend a new travel ban from seven Muslim countries, the subject of protests, lawsuits, and calls even by some Republican lawmakers to change the policy. The president had said last week he would name his Supreme Court nominee on Thursday.
In replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the new president is selecting from a list of 21 people, nearly all of them federal or state judges, put together months ago by conservative interest groups. By last week, three favorites had emerged: federal appeals court judges Neil Gorsuch of Colorado, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania and the original favorite, William Pryor of Alabama.