Donald Trump to Announce Supreme Court Nominee Next Week

President Donald Trump said Tuesday morning that he plans to announce his nominee to fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court next week.

"I appreciate the president soliciting our advice on this important matter", he added.

The Supreme Court has had a vacancy since February 2016, when conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died. Though President Barack Obama quickly nominated Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit for the job, Senate Republicans refused to grant the judge a confirmation hearing.

Trump outlined a list of 21 potential picks during the campaign and has reportedly been narrowing down possible selections. In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, McConnell wouldn't rule out lowering the threshold to a simple majority for the Supreme Court if Democrats block Trump's eventual nominee. The buzz is that Pryor's star may be fading in the SCOTUS sweepstakes, but he has a very influential ally in Senator and Attorney General-nominee Jeff Sessions, who definitely has Trump's ear.

The three candidates considered "frontrunners" for the position include Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Judge William Pryor of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He serves on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and is best known for upholding religious liberty rights in the legal cases over Obamacare. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. The vacancy regularly came up during the presidential race and is said to be an early priority for the Trump administration. All three were nominated by President George W. Bush for their current posts.

Schumer has vowed to confirm Trump's nominee only if he or she appeals to both Republicans and Democrats.

For nearly a year, the court has operated with only eight justices, raising the possibility of deadlocking 4-4 on decisions.

"I think we'll have a nomination within the next couple of weeks".