It’s reported by several news outlets that the President’s list for Supreme Court nominees are down to two, Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman. Trump is scheduled to introduce his choice tonight at the White House, but has yet to tip his hand about which man he will choose.
Neil Gorsuch is a 49-year-old 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, and if he were chosen, he would be the youngest justice in three decades.
Gorsuch believes in the Free Exercise Clause in the Constitution, which involves religious freedom. He ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in 2014, a suit that involved the Affordable Care Act and contraception. In that case, he sided with Hobby Lobby, who argued it was against their religious beliefs to provide contraception for their employees. The case was later heard by the Supreme Court who found in favor of Hobby Lobby 5-4.
Gorsuch is said to be a Constitution judge, in that he is likely to decide issues on the text, structure and history of the Constitution itself, rather than on moral grounds or policy consequences.
Thomas Hardiman, 51, has served as US Court of Appeals judge in Philadelphia since 2007, the same court where Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry is a senior judge. He once sided with a school district who were opposed to student bracelets stating “I Heart Boobies” in a breast cancer campaign. In his opinion the statements on the bracelets were not protected by the First Amendment.
Hardiman drove a taxi for his family’s business in Massachusetts before attending Notre Dame on a scholarship. He later received his J.D. from Georgetown University.
Compared to other Supreme Court nominees, Hardiman has not weighed in on any high-profile cases that would be likely to inflame the base of either party.