Visitors walk outside the U.S. Supreme Court following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)
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Federal appeals court Judges Diane Sykes and William Pryor are among the top two contenders to take over the late Justice Antonin Scalia's vacant Supreme Court seat, sources have told CNN.
A Trump transition source with knowledge of the matter simply told TheBlaze Friday, "I won't dispute any 'rumor' that it's between those two."
Pryor, an Alabama native, is a federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, appointed by President George W. Bush.
Sykes, from Wisconsin, is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. She was also appointed by Bush.
Conservative legal experts, some who have reportedly had conversations with President-elect Donald Trump, speculated last month that Pryor and Sykes would be the top two contenders, according to National Review.
The publication opined that whether Trump chose either judge, it would be a "win-win" for conservatives. However, both Sykes, 58, and Pryor, 54, would have their issues.
As National Review reported on Pryor:
[T]here’s a downside to Pryor’s staunch conservatism: He could prove exceedingly difficult to confirm. There’s a reason Bush used a recess appointment to get Pryor on the appellate court back in 2004: Senate Democrats initially refused to confirm him, horrified that he had, in their view, equated same-sex relations with bestiality (a charge disputed by some on the right ...) and had separately called the Roe v. Wade decision “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history.” Pryor stood by those comments during his hearings and was eventually confirmed in 2005. That unflinching approach, while attractive to conservatives, could make for an unnecessarily messy confirmation.
On Sykes, National Review speculated that she could be easier to appoint — especially because she is a woman — but her divorce from anti-Trump radio personality Charlie Sykes could be a road block.
Trump transition aide Jason Miller told reporters Thursday that the empty Supreme Court seat is "actively being discussed" but declined to give a timetable on when Trump would reach his decision on who to nominate.
Trump previously released a list of 21 individuals who he said he would consider for the position. Both Pryor and Sykes are on that list.
However, aides told CNN that given Trump's past record in filling vacancies, the top two contenders could ultimately change.
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