New Front-Runner Emerges In SCOTUS Contest

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may be the leading candidate for President Donald Trump’s first appointment to the Supreme Court.

Jan Crawford of CBS News, a veteran court-watcher, reports Trump may be close to settling on Gorsuch. At 49, he could conceivably serve on the Court for over 30 years if he is confirmed by the Senate.

A Marshall scholar with degrees from Oxford and Harvard Law School, Gorsuch clerked for Justices Anthony Kennedy and Byron White on the high court before entering private practice in Washington at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel PLLC. He served in the U.S. Department of Justice for two years prior to his nomination to the 10th Circuit in 2006 by President George W. Bush. He was approved by the Senate on a voice vote, as he was not considered a controversial nominee. (RELATED: Jared Kushner Can Lawfully Work In The White House, Justice Dept. Says)

Gorsuch is also the author of two books. His first book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,” was published by Princeton University Press in 2006. He contributed to a second book last year entitled, “The Law of Judicial Precedent,” which is a treatise on the doctrine of precedent assembled by Black’s Law Dictionary editor Bryan Garner. He is consistently identified as one of the finest writers on the federal bench given his elegant and unpretentious prose.

With sterling academic credentials and the reputation of an incisive and thoughtful jurist, Gorsuch is seen by many as a safer pick for the appointment than Judge William Pryor, a conservative stalwart on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and favorite of Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions. Though Gorsuch is also reliably conservative, his scholastic streak may make him a more palatable nominee for wary Senate Democrats, who have pledged all-out resistance to an unacceptable candidate.

The final candidate rounding out the frontrunners is Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. An announcement is expected early next week.

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