After two weeks of deliberation, President Donald Trump is set announce his choice on a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in just a few hours.
While the final decision is being held close to the vest, Trump did tease reporters by saying "you can't go wrong" with his "exceptional" final pick. Trump spoke to reporters Sunday afternoon, where he deliberated his decision amid frenzied
Relishing the suspense, Trump insisted he still hadn't locked down his decision, which he wants to keep under wraps until a 9:00pm Monday announcement from the White House.
Trump tweeted later Sunday that he was looking forward to the announcement and said an "exceptional person will be chosen!" He is hoping to replicate his successful announcement of Justice Neil Gorsuch last year.
While speaking with reporters with reporters on Sunday, Trump said, "I'm very close to making a final decision. And I believe this person will do a great job." Asked by reporters how many people were being considered, the president said: "Let's say it's the four people … they're excellent, every one."
While Trump didn't name the four, experts say top contenders for the role include federal appeals judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman. The White House has been preparing information materials on all four, who were part of a longer list of 25 names originally vetted by conservative groups.
The president has spent the days leading up to the decision mulling the pros and cons of the various options with aides and allies.
Trump expressed renewed interest in Hardiman — the runner-up when Trump nominated Gorsuch, said two people with knowledge of his thinking who were not authorized to speak publicly. But the situation appeared to remain fluid.
Hardiman has a personal connection to the president, having served with Trump's sister on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. He also has a compelling personal story: He went to the University of Notre Dame as the first person in his family to go to college. He financed his law degree at the Georgetown University Law Center by driving a taxi.