Donald Trump revealed during a Wednesday press conference that he has a 20-person list of Supreme Court nominee candidates, and he expects to officially announce his choice within 2 weeks of being inaugurated, reports CNN.
Influential Washington conservatives are reportedly assisting Trump in the selection process, as they press the president-elect to nominate circuit judge Bill Pryor -- who currently presides over the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Select members of congress, Leo Leonard of The Federalist Society, and the Heritage Foundation's President, Jim DeMint have all been named as aiding Trump's deciding who will fill the vacant seat formerly held by stanch conservative Antonin Scalia. Scalia passed away almost a year ago at a Texas hunting resort.
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Born in Mobile, Alabama, Pryor served as his home state's deputy attorney general from 1995 to 1997 before winning election as attorney general, which he served as for seven years. At the time of election, Pryor was the youngest attorney general in the country.
Pryor sparked resistance from Democrats a decade ago when they filibustered the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee. Then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist threatened to strip the minority of power to filibuster judicial nominees through a rules change, after which Pryor's nomination went through.
At the time, Democrat Chuck Schumer called Pryor a "reactionary," saying in a statement that he had been "one of the staunchest advocates of the Rehnquist's Court's efforts to roll back the clock not just to the 1930s but to the 1880s."
Pryor will also will come under attack from the left for criticizing Miranda v. Arizona and Roe v. Wade -- two landmark rulings that established criminal defense and abortion rights, as "two awful rulings that preserved the worst examples of judicial activism."
Previously GOP-nominated Supreme Court justices like Justice Anthony Kennedy and retired Justice David Souter have drifted left in recent judicial branch history, causing conservative trepidation over the next addition to the nine-person bench.
Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, told Fox News Sunday earlier this month that Trump is likely to nominate a candidate with strict, originalist interpretations of the Constitution.
"The president made very clear throughout the campaign that he was looking for justices who were going to interpret the Constitution as the framers mean it to be," he said.
Trump's full list of considerations for the court was made public during his campaign and includes numerous federal appellate court judges.
Inside sources told CNN that the goal is to have the vacant seat filled by mid-April.