— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 21, 2017
Jan Crawford at CBS News is hearing exactly what I am hearing. Sources tell me that the White House is rapidly shrinking its list of Supreme Court nominees. The favorite right now is Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He is 49 years old, was thought of highly by Antonin Scalia, clerked for Anthony Kennedy and, like Scalia, is seen as someone who can influence Kennedy, and is solidly conservative. He in a solidly intellectual conservative, which is the role Antonin Scalia served on the Court.
I am told that Bill Pryor is not out of the running, but there are a number of considerations for going with a Gorsuch first and Pryor later. In particular, though internally no one doubts that Pryor is solidly conservative, externally, he makes some social conservative bristle over two cases, one of which involved transgender rights and the other involving a Christian thrown out of a school for her views on homosexuality. Pryor is considered one of the most conservative appellate court judges and the cases giving social conservatives concern really should not. But, Gorsuch is five years younger and could have staying power and is a better intellectual fit for Scalia’s seat.
The various considerations and trial balloons are still floating and in play. The truth is that any person on the list Donald Trump has would be a solid conservative we can be proud of. It is also worth noting that Trump may very well get a second pick before the year is out.
Lastly, Republicans in the Senate will abandon the filibuster to make this happen as payback for the Democrats’ scuttling of the filibuster for seats lower than the Supreme Court.