SOURCES: Here’s What’s Happening On The SCOTUS Pick

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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The state of play surrounding President Donald Trump’s first Supreme Court appointment remains in flux just hours before an official announcement regarding the nomination is expected, sources tell The Daily Caller News Foundation.

A source involved in the judicial selection process told TheDCNF that the president is inclined to select Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the high court.

A second source close to the process told TheDCNF that personnel are already in place in Washington to guide Gorsuch through the confirmation process. The source says the team is led by Michael Davis, the managing partner of MRDLaw in Denver, Colo. Davis clerked for Gorsuch from 2006 to 2007. TheDCNF was not able to reach Davis at his Denver office.

Other sources tell David Lat of the notoriously well-sourced Above the Law that Davis is in Washington to disseminate information and advocate on Gorsuch’s behalf. Lat reports Gorsuch is not involved in the informal effort.

Gorsuch was considered the front-runner in the waning days of the proceed. He has served on the federal bench for a decade where he has produced a deeply conservative body of work and boasts sterling academic credentials. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and holds a PhD from Oxford.

However, the sources emphasized that the situation remains fluid, and a last minute deviation is well within the realm of possibility. The president reportedly has developed a strong interpersonal rapport with Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and finds his personal story compelling. Hardiman was born to a family of modest means in an industrial town in Massachusetts, and drove cabs in Washington to finance his education at Georgetown University Law Center. Trump apparently recognizes that Hardiman’s biography corresponds to the populist appeals that have defined his political success.

Hardiman also has a champion in Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, the president’s sister who serves with Hardiman on the 3rd Circuit.

Both sources say that, while a Gorsuch appointment is most likely, the president may elect to announce Hardiman at the last minute.

Officials at the highest levels of the White House were reportedly circulating talking points for both candidates as late as yesterday.

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