Trump down to 2 or 3 for court, to meet with Pence

Jul 07, 2018, 01:30
Trump down to 2 or 3 for court, to meet with Pence

HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) — Savoring the suspense, President Donald Trump is weighing his choice on a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy from the seclusion of his golf club in New Jersey, consulting with the vice president and others as he zeroes in on a nominee.

Trump, who conducted interviews with seven candidates earlier this week for a spot on the top US judicial body, told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to a rally in Montana that he would make a decision by Sunday and announce it at 9 p.m. EDT on Monday. As part of the rollout process, the White House has been preparing information packages on all four, said two people familiar with the process who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

President Trump will announce his choice on Monday.

The White House said Tuesday that Trump has already interviewed four potential picks, all of whom are federal appeals court judges.

With the deadline fast approaching, Trump has reportedly whittled his 25-name list down to a shortlist of three: appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, and Amy Coney Barrett. Neither faces re-election this year, but both are centrists who've backed abortion rights and helped block their party's 2017 drive to repeal former President Barack Obama's health care statute.

Wong said her group was planning marches, rallies and "massive civil disobedience" and said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., should press all Democrats to oppose Trump's nominee. Earlier in the week, he spoke with seven people on the list. Republicans control the chamber 51-49, but Sen.

But Trump insisted Friday that he will appoint a Kennedy replacement who issues "neutral judgments based on those laws and the Constitution we have sworn to protect".

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, advocated for Lee in a Fox News op-ed, warning Trump not to repeat "mistakes" of past Republican presidents by picking a Supreme Court nominee who turns out to be insufficiently conservative. Democrats who cheered Kennedy's key swing-vote decisions on cases like Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 - which legalized gay marriage - claimed he betrayed them by allowing Trump to nominate his successor. He also pointed to former justices William Brennan, John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun, the latter of whom wrote the Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman's right to abortion. Both Kethledge and Gorsuch once served Kennedy as law clerks, as did Kavanaugh.

Some conservatives have pointed to Kethledge as a potential justice in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee past year. Kethledge, of MI, serves on the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kavanaugh serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Both are in their early 50s and potentially could serve decades in the lifetime post on the nine-member court. Recognizing the stakes, many Democrats have lined up in opposition to any Trump pick, and Republican lawmakers and activists are seeking to shape the president's decision.

During the confirmation process, Senate Democrats questioned Barrett about her Catholicism and past writings in which she said Catholic judges were in a "legal bind" in cases related to abortion and the death penalty.

Running a successful democracy requires compromise, concessions, shared values and a measure of respect for one's political opponents.

On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from ME, reiterated that she could not vote for a nominee with a "demonstrated hostility" to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion.

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