President Donald Trump plans to announce his second U.S. Supreme Court nomination Monday at 9 pm eastern time, which could well leave him with an opportunity to do something only six of his predecessors has done, make a third pick for the nation’s highest tribunal.
Trump would be the seventh presidents who had the chance to nominate a third justice. Such an outcome is quite possible, especially if he wins a second term in the Oval Office in 2020. Assuming the second Trump nominee is confirmed, court observers believe there would be a strong 6-3 conservative majority on many major decisions.
A dozen presidents have nominated more than three justices to the court, with George Washington coming in at the first spot with 11 picks, not including those who declined or withdrew, with all but one being confirmed. He was essentially tasked with building the court as the first president.
Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the only chief executive elected to four terms in the White House, had the second most at nine nominations, all of which were confirmed. Four presidents were able to nominate five people to the court, and six who named four, not including nominees who declined or withdrawn.
Judges Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Amul Thapar and Raymond Kethledge are on Trump’s shortlist of possible nominees. Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed in 2017 as Trump’s first nominee. Goresuch’s appointment rankled Senate Democrats because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to allow hearings in 2016 for former President Barack Obama’s selection of Merrick Garland replace the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Supreme Court had an unusually busy 2017-2018 term, marked by half a dozen major decisions and the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, which prompted Trump’s second opportunity to name a new associate justice. The court issued decisions involving mandatory union dues, the travel ban, sports gambling, religious rights, voting rights, abortions, and more in what became major victories for conservatives.
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