Obama to announce SCOTUS nominee Wednesday

President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaObama lauds abortion decision from Supreme Court Dems celebrate anniversary of gay marriage ruling Cannabis conversation urged at North American Leaders Summit MORE will announce his Supreme Court nominee Wednesday during an 11 a.m. event in the Rose Garden, according the White House.

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In an email message with the subject line “I’ve made my decision,” Obama did not name his pick. But he wrote that he searched for candidates who have an “independent mind, unimpeachable credentials, and an unquestionable mastery of law.”

The announcement will kick off a fierce confirmation battle with Republicans in the Senate, who have pledged to not hold hearings or votes on Obama’s nominee.

The president made reference to the coming battle, arguing it’s the Senate’s duty to give fair consideration to his nominee.

“I’m confident you’ll share my conviction that this American is not only eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice, but deserves a fair hearing, and an up-or-down vote,” he wrote.

“In putting forward a nominee today, I am fulfilling my constitutional duty. I’m doing my job,” he continued. “I hope that our Senators will do their jobs, and move quickly to consider my nominee. That is what the Constitution dictates, and that’s what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders.”

Obama has reportedly narrowed his list to two people: Sri Srinivasan, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; and Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the same court.

Both Democratic appointees have moderate reputations and were confirmed by the Senate with widespread Republican support.

But getting a nominee confirmed this time is expected to be much harder.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Finance: McConnell tees up Puerto Rico vote | Britain's credit rating slashed | Clinton vows to appoint trade prosecutor Senate Dem blocks intelligence authorization over FBI surveillance Overnight Healthcare: Biggest abortion rights win in 25 years | Justice Kennedy again steps to the left MORE (R-Ky.) and other top Republicans have shown no sign of backing down from their position that Obama's nominee should not be considered.

They argue the next president should instead choose a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the leading conservative voice in the court. Any Obama pick could swing the ideological balance of the court to the left for years to come.

The White House, Republicans and their allies are prepared to wage a major public relations war over the nomination, which could last well into the summer.

Hoping to take back control of the Senate, Democrats are planning to use McConnell's pledge against vulnerable Senate Republicans and those running in battleground states. Polls show Democrats and most independents believe Obama should be able to make a court pick.

Republicans plan to appeal to their base by calling out Democrats for “hypocrisy” on judicial nominations, highlighting comments made by Vice President Biden in 1992 suggesting that any Supreme Court nomination should wait until after the presidential election.

--This report was updated on March 16 at 7:48 a.m.

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