AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File

Nobody like John Roberts. And nobody like David Souter. These two Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices — who disappointed so many conservatives over the years — have been top of mind for the tight team who is working with Trump to fill Antonin Scalia's vacancy on the court.

The overriding goal, says one of Trump's Supreme Court advisers, was to avoid choosing a "stealth" nominee who presents himself as an originalist but turns out to have a more flexible view of the Constitution than conservatives expected.

What conservatives have learned the hard way over the years is lots of people can mouth off the words, 'I am an originalist. I'm a textualist.' But the question is, are they really? — Trump SCOTUS adviser.

Trump has chosen his justice. Only a handful of people — and we're talking a really small handful (like a half dozen)— know his name. The announcement is tonight at 8pm.

A source who knows the final decision would only tell us it's one of two men: Judge Neil Gorsuch, who serves on United States Court of appeals for the Tenth Circuit; and Judge Thomas Hardiman, who sits on United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Trump's made the decision privately, said a source with direct knowledge.

The advisory team — which included Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, White House counsel Don McGahn and the Federalist Society's Leonard Leo (who drew up the original list of 21) — studied both Gorsuch's and Hardiman's records and found enough case evidence to convince them that these were unbending originalists.

Here is who else Trump's team has consulted on the pick:

  • Antonin Scalia's widow Maureen
  • Republican lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Orrin Hatch.
  • Former Republican lawmakers, including Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
  • Laura Ingraham, the conservative talk show host and former white-collar defense attorney and Supreme Court law clerk (Trump admires her legal mind).
  • Andrew Napolitano, a former judge and the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel.
  • Trump also spoke to Democrats, including Senators Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Technology

TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok said Monday night that it would pull its social video platform out of the Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong amid a restrictive new law that went into effect last week.

Why it matters: TikTok's move comes as many large tech companies say they are still evaluating how to respond to the Hong Kong law.

7 hours ago - World

Ethiopia's Nobel Peace laureate cracks down on ethnic violence

The image of a Nobel Peace laureate in military fatigues encapsulates the moment in which Ethiopia finds itself — on the verge of a transition to democracy, a descent into violence or, perhaps, a precarious combination of the two.

Driving the news: At least 166 people were killed after an iconic musician, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, was murdered last Monday in Addis Ababa, the capital. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed responded to the violence by sending in troops and shutting off the internet. High-profile opposition leaders were arrested, along with some 2,300 others.

Updated 9 hours ago - Health

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said on Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus after displaying no symptoms.

Why it matters: Bottoms, one of several Black women on the shortlist to be Joe Biden's running mate, has risen to national prominence in recent months as part of mass protests over racism and police brutality — driven in part by the killing of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta police.