Trump's Supreme Court shortlist: Judges with different backgrounds, one commonality

Trump's SCOTUS shortlist
Trump's SCOTUS shortlist 02:20

President Trump plans to announce his nominee for the Supreme Court tonight at the White House. As CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford reports, the president is deciding between two federal appeals court judges, Neil Gorsuch of Colorado and Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania.

Sources have confirmed Mr. Trump’s first Supreme Court pick will come down to a choice between two judges with very different backgrounds, but one thing both men have in common: they are considered solid conservatives.

“I think you will be very impressed with this person,” Mr. Trump said Monday.

One frontrunner is straight out of central casting. With degrees from Harvard and Oxford and establishment credentials, Gorsuch has a judicial philosophy modeled after Antonin Scalia, the justice he would replace.
“People talk about members of their professions as lions of the profession, and I often have a difficult time understanding the analogy. Not so with Justice Scalia,” Gorsuch said.

A solid conservative, Gorsuch sided with religious employers opposed to the Obamacare contraceptive mandate. In his book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” he argues for the sanctity of life.

Also on Mr. Trump’s shortlist is Hardiman, whose nomination in the fall of 2006 to the federal appeals court was so uncontroversial just one senator attended the hearing. Hardiman is considered a law-and-order judge and favors gun rights.

If Gorsuch is blue blood, Hardiman is blue collar. He’s the first member of his family to graduate from college – Notre Dame, with honors – and he put himself through Georgetown Law driving a taxi. He would be the only justice from outside the Ivy League, as he discussed at a law school forum with Justice Clarence Thomas.

“I think we should have people from other law schools. It’s all Harvard and Yale,” Thomas said.

Mr. Trump told reporters Monday that he’d made up his mind. But whoever he chooses better brace for a fight. After Senate Republicans refused to vote on President Obama’s nominee last year, Democrats have already promised to fight Mr. Trump’s nominee.