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Reince Priebus: Expect a Supreme Court Pick 'Around Inauguration Day'

Reince Priebus
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said a Supreme Court nominee will likely be announced around Inauguration Day. (Reuters photo)

During an interview Wednesday with nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus gave an update on the progress to appoint a replacement for the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Republican National Committee chairman said President-elect Donald Trump has not yet begun to hold interviews with prospective candidates for the high court. He said that will likely happen "after the start of the new year" but will conclude quickly.

"Certainly by the time we get to inauguration, either shortly before or shortly thereafter, we'll reveal the name of who our nominee will be," he said. "I can tell you what the president  believes is that the most qualified, best person to serve on the Supreme Court is what's most important. And so, but certainly longevity's a factor, but it's just a factor. Competence and having the best possible person nominated is what's most important."

Hewitt also asked about the 13 current appeals court seats that are vacant, saying he thought President George W. Bush made a mistake by not filling those kinds of vacancies early in his first term. Priebus agreed that it would be a priority to fill those vacancies quickly, once the president-elect is sworn in.

"You don't want to sit around and let sort of the disputes of Washington overtake your ability to move quickly through the process," he said. "The first and second year of a new presidency is where everything happens. And we understand that. We understand that the first year is our best opportunity to get as many of the things done that we need to get done in order to move the country forward."

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