Trump announces pick for high court

The nomination gives Trump and Republicans the opportunity to confirm a candidate who could cement the conservative direction of the court for decades.

The two judges who have been considered the top finalists — Neil Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman — were brought to Washington ahead of the announcement, sources tell CNN.

His selection also sets up an intense fight with Senate Democrats, still angry over the Republicans’ decision to essentially ignore former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the empty Supreme Court seat last year.

The court has been operating with eight justices since the sudden death last February of Justice Antonin Scalia. If confirmed, Gorsuch would continue the ideological balance that existed before Scalia’s death, with four conservatives, four liberals and Justice Anthony Kennedy as a swing vote between the blocs.

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