A list of 25 names contains one person who will be President Donald Trump’s pick for the newly created vacancy on the Supreme Court after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday.
“I would think he would want to have someone confirmed before the midterms,” attorney Leonard Leo who has served as an advisor on the Supreme Court to President Trump told ABC News. “So that there can be a full nine numbers on the court beginning in October and it's doable most of these confirmations take about 70 to 100 days.”
Leo was the architect of Trump’s first Supreme Court nomination with Justice Neil Gorsuch – it was Leo who worked with the Trump campaign during the presidential race to create a list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court should candidate Donald Trump win. Since Trump’s victory, the list has been expanded adding more and more names of vetted conservative jurists.
“The President has broken with past practice by publicly releasing lists of prospective Supreme Court nominees,” ABC News contributor and Supreme Court analyst Kate Shaw said. “All of the candidates are well credentialed and very conservative; to the extent it's possible to predict these things, the top contenders would be reliable conservative votes….there's just no way to know for sure how someone will vote after joining the Court.”
“It's a transformative opportunity for the president for the country…to transform the rule of law in our country and to make sure that we ground it more on the Constitution as it's written,” Leo added.
Leo, the longtime leader of the Federalist Society has taken a leave of absence from the organization and will take on an active role working on the selection and confirmation hearings of whomever the nominee is that President Trump selects.
Inside the White House, sources tell ABC News to expect White House Counsel Don McGahn to be actively involved as he was during the Gorsuch nomination.
“It’s always a big battle,” Leo said referring to the Senate confirmation hearings a potential nominee will face. “These are nine guys and gals who decide so many important issues and it takes five they’re big battles and they should be in America. It's an important issue. So we should have a national debate about it.”
Sources tell ABC News that out of those 25 names, the 5 current front-runners include Thomas Hardiman, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amul Thapar.