WASHINGTON, DC – Sources tell Breitbart News on Sunday that Judges Amy Barrett and Thomas Hardiman have taken the top two positions in the Supreme Court selection process in the final hours before President Donald Trump makes his final choice for a lifetime appointment. Other outlets are reporting different names and numbers, leaving everyone guessing.
Social conservative leaders have been cheering for Barrett, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit whose confirmation hearings erupted when Democrats opposed her as a federal judge because of her devout Catholic faith, in violation of the Constitution’s Religious Test Clause. That episode – which included a bizarre moment where Sen. Dianne Feinstein used a speech pattern that sounded like Yoda from Star Wars, saying to Barrett, “the dogma lives loudly in you” – made Barrett an instant celebrity with supporters of religious liberty and conservative values.
At age 46, Barrett would be the youngest justice in almost 30 years. She graduated from Notre Dame Law School, clerked for a federal appeals judge and for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, then returned to Indiana as a law professor at Notre Dame, where she is well known as an ardent supporter of an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. She is a mother to seven children – both biological and adopted – and is affectionately called “Judge Dogma” by some of her admirers for her grueling confirmation ordeal.
Other conservative leaders are cheering for Hardiman, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He worked as a taxi cab driver to pay his way through school, graduated from Notre Dame Law School, and became a federal district judge in Pennsylvania. (District judges are where trials occur.) In 2007, Hardiman was elevated to the Third Circuit.
Hardiman has distinguished himself on several major issues during his tenure on the bench. Prominent among these is Binderup v. Attorney General, where he wrote that the Second Amendment must be interpreted according to its original public meaning when it was adopted in 1791, striking down a federal gun-control law as applied to two nonviolent criminals for minor offenses when the government conceded that these individuals were not dangerous.
The Washington Post called Hardiman a “Second Amendment extremist,” which may help his chances with the NRA-endorsed President Trump.
By all accounts, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit is still a possibility, and even though many outlets say that Judge Raymond Kethledge of the Sixth Circuit is no longer being actively considered, the White House has not made any official statements.
President Trump is a master of stagecraft who has been on the national stage for decades and seems to relish building up to a grand finale. It is possible that some of the leaked lists are deliberate disinformation to keep the crowds wondering as the president makes his final decision.
The president is also aware that this will be a defining moment of his presidency. A successful appointment that excites his supporters and fulfills his campaign promise – for the second time now – would give the president a massive victory going into the midterm elections, enable him to pick up additional seats in the Senate, and be a defining moment for his presidency.
The announcement is scheduled at 9 p.m. tomorrow in a primetime address from the White House.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.