President Donald Trump told reporters on Friday that he plans to make his announcement of a choice for U.S. Supreme Court on the Monday after July Fourth, a move which should set in motion Senate confirmation hearings in August, followed by a full Senate debate and vote after Labor Day, getting a new Justice installed before the Court's new term begins on the First Monday in October.
"Outside of war and peace, of course, the most important decision you make is the selection of a Supreme Court judge, if you get it," the President said aboard Air Force One, on the way to his golf retreat in Bedminster, New Jersey.
"As you know, there are many Presidents who never get a choice," Mr. Trump added - though his historical note was not that accurate, as only four Presidents have not had a Supreme Court nominee, the most recent being Jimmy Carter, along with Andrew Johnson, Zachary Taylor, and William Henry Harrison, who died less than a month after being sworn in to office.
While Mr. Trump has advertised a short list of 25 different judicial candidates for a Supreme Court position, he did not offer any public hints on who has been trimmed from that list as he replaces the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
This is the list available on the White House website:
"It is a group of highly talented, very brilliant, mostly conservative judges," Mr. Trump said on Friday.
Here is how I see the Supreme Court process playing out:
+ President Trump announces nominee on July 9
+ While Mr. Trump goes to Europe for NATO summit/Putin meeting, nominee then starts visits with Senators on Capitol Hill
+ Those meetings go for a few weeks
+ Senate Judiciary Committee holds a week of hearings in mid-August
+ Then it takes another two weeks before a committee vote (that vote could happen in August, or even early September)
+ Senate floor debate starts after Labor Day
+ Full Senate vote happens in mid to late September
+ New Justice is on the bench for the start of the 2018-2019 term on the First Monday in October.
Remember - President Trump nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch on January 31, and the Senate confirmed Gorsuch on April 7. That was 66 days.
66 days from July 9 is September 13. So, that would seem to be a time line that could work - barring any nomination calamity.