The indispensable Jan Crawford at CBS News is reporting that Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit may be emerging as the leading contender for Justice Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court. According to her report, the leading contenders (at the moment) are Gorsuch, Judge William Pryor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Thomas Hardiman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Pryor had been a leading candidate, in part, due to his close relationship with Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions. Judge Gorsuch, however, is seen as a less controversial pick who would be easier to confirm. Notably absent from Crawford’s report is any mention of Judge Diane Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, who is often identified as a strong candidate for the nomination.
For those interested in learning more about Judge Gorsuch, here are profiles from SCOTUSBlog and BloombergBNA. In addition, here’s a VC post of mine on a Gorsuch opinion raising questions about Chevron deference. I also recommend taking a look at Judge Gorsuch’s Canary lecture on Justice Scalia’s jurisprudence that he delivered last year at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Here are a video of the talk and a published version of his remarks.