Trump closes in on Supreme Court pick, considerations include Sen. Mike Lee and others; 3 judges top list

Inside the Supreme Court of the United States, District of Columbia, undated | Photo by dkfielding, iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — President Donald Trump is closing in on his next Supreme Court nominee, with three federal judges leading the competition to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Trump’s top contenders for the vacancy at this time are federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge, said a person familiar with Trump’s thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

In this April 10, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy participate in a public swearing-in ceremony for Justice Neil Gorsuch in the Rose Garden of the White House White House in Washington. The 81-year-old Kennedy said Tuesday, June 27, 2018, that he is retiring after more than 30 years on the court. | Associated Press photo by Carolyn Kaster, St. George News

Working closely with a White House team and consulting with lawmakers and outside advisers, Trump has spent the week deliberating on the choice. He conducted interviews on Monday and Tuesday and has spoken to seven possible candidates. He has not yet publicly indicated that he has narrowed the list and could still consider others in the mix.

The president spoke by phone with Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah on Monday. He’s the only lawmaker on Trump’s list.

With customary fanfare, Trump plans to announce his selection Monday night, kicking off a contentious nomination process as Republicans seek to shift the court to the right and Democrats strive to block the effort.

Vice President Mike Pence has also met with some of the contenders for the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, The Associated Press has learned.

The meetings took place in recent days, according to a person familiar with the search process. The person did not specify which candidates Pence met with and spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday to describe the private search process.

Trump is choosing his nominee from a list of 25 candidates vetted by conservative groups. Other contenders that have received serious interest include federal appeals judges Amul Thapar, Thomas Hardiman and Joan Larsen.

In this file photo Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, points while talking with visitors on Capitol Hill. A temporary funding measure that would keep the government open past a midnight deadline easily sailed through the Senate on Wednesday and should shortly make its way through a badly divided House and on to President Barack Obama. Paul voted against the spending bill. The vote now goes to the House, Capitol Hill, Washington, Sept. 30, 2015 | AP Photo by Jacquelyn Martin, St. George News

Trump’s choice to replace Kennedy — a swing vote on the nine-member court — has the potential to remake the court for a generation as part of precedent-shattering decisions on abortion, health care, gay marriage and other issues. 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.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has told colleagues he may not vote for Kavanaugh if the judge is nominated, citing Kavanaugh’s role during the Bush administration on cases involving executive privilege and the disclosure of documents to Congress, said a person familiar with Paul’s conversations who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Some conservatives have pointed to Kethledge as a potential justice in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee last year. Both Kethledge and Gorsuch once served Kennedy as law clerks, as did Kavanaugh. Kethledge, a Michigan Law graduate, would add academic diversity to a court steeped in the Ivy League.

Since Trump said his short list includes at least two women, speculation has focused on Barrett, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who serves on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Conservative groups rallied around Barrett after her confirmation hearing last year featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions.

On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, 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.

“I think I’ve made it pretty clear if a nominee has demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade and has said that they’re not going to abide by that long-standing precedent, that I could not support that nominee,” Collins told reporters at a holiday parade in Bangor.

But Collins said she also wouldn’t blindly vote to confirm someone she thinks is unworthy in other respects — even if he or she supports Roe v. Wade.

Written by CATHERINE LUCEY, KEN THOMAS and LISA MASCARO,  Associated Press. Associated Press writers Zeke Miller in Washington and Marina Villeneuve in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • IPFreely July 5, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I bet the blood of libtards are starting to boil…

    • RadRabbit July 5, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Just wait till Trump gets to replace Ginsburg….

      • IPFreely July 5, 2018 at 12:07 pm

        Some heads may explode…

        • John July 5, 2018 at 12:54 pm

          Libtard heads are exploding and he hasn’t even nominated anyone yet! hahahahahahaha!

          • jaybird July 5, 2018 at 9:54 pm

            Lee isnt even on Trumps radar. He gets another Romney carrot to salivate over. Ha, ha, ha, ha….

          • John July 6, 2018 at 11:40 am

            jailturd is obsessed with Trump… hahahahahahahaha!

  • tazzman July 5, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Pick Mike Lee or Amy Barrett.

    • RadRabbit July 5, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      EXACTLY! Best of the bunch IMO

    • John July 6, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Pick the one that makes the most liberal heads explode.. Have some fun with it!

  • PlanetU July 5, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Odd, I didn’t see Mike Lee’s picture on the world news, only the other 3…….

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