Constitution Daily

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A quick look at the “final four” Supreme Court candidates

July 9, 2018 by NCC Staff


President Donald Trump will announce his Supreme Court nominee tonight at 9 p.m. EDT. Here is a brief look at the four candidates getting the most attention in the media today.

Officially, the White House hasn’t indicated a preferred candidate and isn’t expected to give away many clues until the announcement. But based on various media reports from the weekend and Monday, Court watchers are focused on the following four current federal judges, listed in alphabetical order, as replacements for the recently retired Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Amy Coney Barrett, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

President Donald Trump nominated Barrett, and the Senate confirmed her on October 31, 2017, to the federal bench.

Barrett is a Notre Dame Law School alumna, and she received the Hoynes Prize, the Law School’s highest honor. She then taught at Notre Dame Law from 2002 until 2017.

Barrett also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Thomas Hardiman, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Hardiman serves on the same court as Maryanne Barry Trump, which is based in Philadelphia. Unlike the current Justices, Hardiman doesn’t have an Ivy League law degree – a fact Trump said on the 2016 presidential campaign trail was a positive factor for a potential nominee if he became President.

Hardiman went to Notre Dame and Georgetown. He is also a George W. Bush appointment to the federal bench. Before joining the federal court, Hardiman practiced law in Pittsburgh.

Brett Kavanaugh, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Kavanaugh was appointed to D.C. Circuit appeals court in May 2006, after his nomination by President George W. Bush and his confirmation by the Senate. Before that, Kavanaugh served for more than five years in the Bush White House. He graduated from Yale Law School in 1990 and Yale College in 1987.

Kavanaugh was also a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and he was Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

Raymond Kethledge, Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Kethledge went to the University of Michigan, and then Michigan Law, where he graduated second in his class. After a career in private practice, Kethledge was nominated by President George W. Bush to the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court in 2006, and after a two-year delay, he was confirmed by the Senate in 2008.

Kethledge also was a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.


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