Trump focused on Kavanaugh, Kethledge for Supreme Court

Ted Cruz in background with Mike Lee looking inquisitive

Trump's process has echoes of his search for a Supreme Court justice past year - he eventually nominated Neil M. Gorsuch - and his consideration of a running mate during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The president has reportedly narrowed his list of 25 potential nominees to three federal appeals court judges: Raymond Kethledge, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett - with focus on the latter two, sources told NPR.

"When the president presents the Senate with his choice for the Supreme Court, I will thoroughly review the record and qualifications of that nominee", Donnelly said in a readout of the meeting.

"They're all political, so let's just find a person that we can all agree with and put him on there", LePage said.

The vacancy left by Kennedy's retirement gives Trump a second opportunity to re-shape the high court.

President Trump has spent most of this week interviewing candidates for the SCOTUS nomination.

"Beyond the qualifications, what really matters is, does this nominee fit a central casting image for a Supreme Court nominee, as well as his or her spouse", a Republican close to the White House told Politico. The "person that is chosen will be outstanding". "There's an easy linkage for these two issues", and that, she says, will motivate swing voters and the base: women, baby boomers who don't want to lose their health benefits, and Millennials who thought reproductive rights were resolved. Pro-lifers have long agitated for it to be overturned and return to the states the right to decide if they should or not allow abortions. Because she was just confirmed, we know that constitutionalists and conservatives backed her; we know the Senate leadership fought for her confirmation with press conferences, floor speeches, and the final vote.

Pence met in person with Kethledge and Barrett while he was vacationing in IN earlier this week and met with Kavanaugh at the Naval Observatory on Wednesday, said a person familiar with the process who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Judge Amul Thapar, of the US Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit, was originally among those President Trump would be considering for Kennedy's position. He is a graduate of the University of MI, where he received both his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctorate degrees.

No matter which judge President Donald Trump chooses from his Supreme Court shortlist, they will all have a similar impact on America's highest court, says UC-Irvine law professor Rick Hasen. He is based in MI. In addition to serving as a Judge, he also teaches a class on appellate law at University of Michigan Law School.

Barrett is the only woman on the president's short list of three nominees under consideration.

"Given their vision of a politicized judiciary, we should not be surprised when Democrats cry bloody murder at the announcement of the president's Supreme Court nominee", the retiring senator writes.

"I remind my Republican friends that Justice Neil M. Gorsuch also served in the George W. Bush administration, yet I do not recall conservatives using that as an excuse to question his commitment to the rule of law or to conservative principles", Gonzales wrote.

Trump is set to announce his nominee in a televised address on Monday evening.

Once the selection is announced, of course, the race will be on to get the nominee confirmed as soon as possible.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said he intends to hold hearings and vote on the president's pick this fall. The Kennedy nomination likely means that his replacement's confirmation process will take priority over other pending matters, so it's likely we'll see confirmation hearings begin sometime after that.



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