The vetting process is done, and three potential nominees remain
The pick will set the stage for a constitutional show-down with Republicans who control the U.S. Senate, many of whom have vowed not to even consider any nominee Obama puts forward. Republicans argue that the next president should fill the Supreme Court vacancy.
Obama’s team has ended the vetting process and is set to announce his nomination for the Supreme Court at 11 a.m., CNN reports.
The president is likely to choose from three potential nominees, all federal appellate judges: Merrick B. Garland, 63; Sri Srinivasan, 49, and 48-year-old Paul J. Watford, according to Reuters.
Srinivasan was confirmed by the Senate in 2013 with a 97-0 vote, the New York Times reports. Garland is viewed as a moderate and has been a finalist in the President’s previous Supreme Court searches.
Watford serves on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California, the Times reports.
Scalia was one of the most ardent conservative voices on the Supreme Court. Obama’s pick, if confirmed, would likely change the balance of the nation’s highest judiciary – giving liberal-minded jurists a 5-4 majority on some of the most divisive cases.
In a news conference last month, Obama called on Republican opponents in the Senate to consider his nominee in “a thoughtful way,” rise above “venom and rancor” and give his nominee a chance.
“I am going to present somebody who indisputably is qualified for the seat and any fair-minded person, even somebody who disagreed with my politics, would say would serve with honor and integrity on the court,” he said.