June 27 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court judge in Washington was the early favorite among political bettors to succeed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Brett Kavanaugh, a judge since 2006 on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, was seen as having a 34 percent chance of being tapped by President Donald Trump to fill the Kennedy vacancy, according to PredictIt.org, a popular online market for betting on political events.
That was more than twice the chance assigned to the next jurist seen in contention for the job, Thomas Hardiman, an appellate judge for the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania. PredictIt gave Hardiman a 16 percent chance of being appointed.
A third top contender was Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appeals court judge in Indiana, who was assigned an 11 percent probability of appointment, according to PredictIt.
After months of sparse activity in PredictIt’s “Who will be Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee?” contracts, trading was brisk following Kennedy’s retirement announcement.
The Kavanaugh contract was busiest, with volume of around 6,500 on Wednesday afternoon, followed by Barrett with about 4,500 and Hardiman with 3,300.
Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Richard Chang