UPDATE II - IJR's Benny Johnson says he has confirmation that it's Gorsuch. I'll repeat that if this is true, it's a sensational pick by President Trump. Five hours until anything is official:
CONFIRMED: Trump will pick Judge Neil Gorsuch tonight, youngest SCOTUS pick in 30 years. https://t.co/lakw5LrAqa— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 31, 2017
Why the asterisk? Allow me to explain. A source close to Team Trump's confirmation operation tells Townhall that Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals will be nominated to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. This information could not be independently and directly confirmed by a second source. However, additional breadcrumbs exist: (1) Another court-watching journalist I spoke with earlier today has a separate source who has also been told to prepare for a Gorsuch nomination, (2) a Thomas Hardiman ally I contacted did not dispute (but would not formally confirm) that the Third Circuit judge for whom he was lobbying has been passed over, and (3) a pair of top Congressional sources said they've heard growing Gorsuch "buzz" this afternoon, but could not offer airtight confirmations. All of which is to say that unless there is a significant misdirection operation underway -- a possibility that cannot be discounted, especially given the president's flare for the dramatic and these speculation-building theatrics -- it will be Gorsuch:
I'll say this, based on 4 conversations today: Either there's a major headfake operation afoot, or it's going to be Gorsuch. #SCOTUS— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) January 31, 2017
Two sources with solidly reliable knowledge of the situation confirmed to me yesterday that Trump's selection would either be Gorsuch or Hardiman. The president will unveil his choice this evening at 8pm Eastern.
UPDATE: CNN's sources are apparently hearing similar things:
CNN reporting Gorsuch is the frontrunner for SCOTUS. Easy way to unite the GOP...— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) January 31, 2017
If this mounting evidence proves to be accurate, Gorsuch would be an absolutely superb choice. He is a committed, established originalist who was confirmed to his current post by a Senate voice vote (no opposition) in 2006. He is just 49 years old. Is this intel solid, or is Trump setting up the media? Stay tuned.