As the Trump transition team moves to first fill key cabinet and White House staff positions, a parallel post-election focus on the high court vacancy has started to coalesce, Fox News reports. Some conservative advocacy groups have suggested Trump signal before his inauguration who his pick would be, to jump-start the Senate confirmation process. Sources suggest a formal announcement only after Jan. 20, when full input from the White House counsel’s office and the attorney general would occur, including FBI background checks of the finalists and eventual nominee.
Trump has taken the unusual step of naming 21 individuals as potential nominees, all but one sitting state or federal judges. Two names getting early attention from conservative legal activists are federal appeals court judges Diane Sykes of Wisconsin and William Pryor of Alabama. A “Fantasy SCOTUS” crowdsourcing poll launched this week to predict the nominee has Sykes, Pryor and federal appeals court judges Neil Gorsuch and Raymond Kethledge at the top, along with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who was a clerk to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist.