Trump to Turn SCOTUS Nomination Into Live, Prime-Time Event

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump announced Monday he will reveal his pick to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court live from the White House on Tuesday night.

In a Twitter post Monday morning Trump said he “made my decision on who I will nominate” for the seat, which has stayed open for nearly a year following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016.

The announcement will come at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Trump said.

Following Scalia’s death, congressional Republicans successfully prevented Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s pick to fill the seat, from ascending to the high court by refusing to hold a vote or even a hearing on his nomination.

Trump is said to have narrowed his choice to Judge Thomas Hardiman, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Judge Neil , of the 10th Circuit; and Judge William Pryor, of the 11th U.S. Circuit.

As of Monday morning,  Hardiman and Gorsuch are seen as the frontrunners in the SCOTUS stakes.

Hardiman, a 51-year-old Bush appointee, would be the only Supreme Court justice not educated at an Ivy League law school, having put himself through Georgetown by driving a taxi.

While on the bench, Hardiman dissented from a majority opinion that preserved a New Jersey law that required people to show a “justifiable need” to receive a public-carry permit. His dissent relied heavily on Scalia’s pro-gun rights opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller.

Pryor, 54, once called Roe v. Wade the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law,” but could cause some fear among some Republicans for joining a majority opinion saying discriminating against transgender people violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

At 49, Gorsuch is the youngest among those being considered, and the Bush appointee recently sided with privately-held companies who claimed the contraceptive mandate in the federal health care law violated their religious beliefs.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he would keep Trump’s nominee from taking the bench if the pick is “not bipartisan and mainstream,” but told reporters last week he is not out to get revenge on Republicans for standing against Garland.

“Clearly what they did with Garland was wrong, but we’re not playing tit-for-tat here,” Schumer told reporters last week. “We want a mainstream nominee because that’s the right thing for America.”

Last week Trump met at the White House with Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee respectively, to discuss the nominee.

Trump had originally said the announcement would come on Thursday.