He has also been compared to Scalia. In an article examining his Supreme Court prospects, the Los Angeles Times described Gorsuch as “a highly regarded conservative jurist best known for upholding religious-liberty rights in the legal battles over Obamacare.” The report added that his proponents believe he has “a devotion to deciding cases based on the original meaning of the Constitution and the text of statutes, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia.”
Thomas Hardiman: Hardiman was nominated by the second Bush president to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and confirmed by the Senate in 2007. He received a law degree from Georgetown University and, prior to his current judgeship, served as a U.S. District Court judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
His judicial record might dovetail with Trump’s controversial calls for “law and order.” “A 2007 ruling Hardiman wrote upheld the constitutionality [of] strip searches of jail prisoners regardless of how minor an offense they were accused of,” Politico noted earlier in the month. The report added that although “Hardiman has backed First Amendment rights in the context of political donations, he took a narrower view in a 2010 suit over an arrest for videotaping a police officer during a traffic stop, holding that there was no clearly established First Amendment right to record such an event.”
Bill Pryor: Pryor has been a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit since 2004 and was also nominated by Bush. He was born in Mobile, Alabama; graduated with a law degree from Tulane University; served as the Alabama state attorney general from 1997 to 2004; and currently serves on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Pryor once called the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which protected a woman’s right to an abortion, “the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.” During a confirmation hearing to consider his nomination to the Eleventh Circuit, Pryor told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he believes “abortion is morally wrong,” though he added: “I am able to put aside my personal beliefs and follow the law, even when I strongly disagree with it.” SCOTUSblog writes that Pryor “has been a strong proponent of religious freedom, [and] has been perhaps surprisingly receptive to claims of discrimination by LGBTQ plaintiffs,” noting that he once joined an opinion “holding that Georgia officials violated the equal protection clause when they fired an employee for being transgender.”
For now, other potential Supreme Court nominees may also be under consideration. But whoever Trump nominates could meet stiff resistance from Democrats, who’ve condemned their Republican counterparts’ obstruction of Garland’s nomination. “If the nominee is out of the mainstream, we will do our best to keep the seat open,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told CNN on Sunday, adding that he was “hopeful that President Trump may nominate someone who is mainstream and could get bipartisan support.” If the nominee doesn’t satisfy Democrats, Republicans will find themselves on the opposite end of a partisan battle over the vacant Court seat, which began almost immediately after Scalia died last year.