After winning confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch a year ago, Trump has teased his latest options for days, after narrowing down his list of prospects to four federal appeals-court judges: Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman. He clerked for Justice Kennedy, he worked in the [George W.] Bush White House, and he's been a judge on the D.C. Circuit, which is the second-most important and influential court after the Supreme Court, for about a dozen years.
"I want to talk to you about what we all can do to make it clear how unacceptable an extreme, ideological Supreme Court nominee would be and push Senate Republicans to join Democrats in rejecting this kind of selection from President Trump", Democrat Patty Murray said in a video produced by Senate Democrats.
White House sources and those involved with the decision-making process have cautioned that only Trump knows whom he will pick, and he will be the one to announce it tonight - in true reality show fashion. If you're a cord cutter without a TV, you can stream it online on C-SPAN or via the embedded video below from PBS Newshour. The president has again been impressed by his life story, as someone with humble roots - the first in his family to go to college and even that he drove a taxi to help pay for law school. She is conservative and she is Catholic, and her religion became an issue during her 7th Circuit confirmation hearings when Sen. Perhaps it will fire up Democrats to embark on the decades-long quest to remake the ideological balance of the court that the GOP has used to enthuse its grassroots voters and that Trump harnessed in 2016. Jon Kyl of Arizona would guide the nominee through the Senate confirmation process. The president's nominee, if confirmed, will likely solidify a five-seat conservative majority on the nine-member court.
Stephanopoulos also asked Leo about an argument by some Democrats, including Blumenthal, that no new justice should be appointed until after special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is finished because it would be improper for the president to nominate someone who may have jurisdiction over the probe. All three voted past year to confirm Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil M. Gorsuch, and the White House invited them to meet with Trump last month to discuss the latest opening on the court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Trump he believes Kethledge and Hardiman might be easier for the Senate to confirm than either Kavanaugh or Barrett, The New York times reported, citing Republican officials briefed on the conversations.
Hardiman has a personal connection to the president, having served with Trump's sister on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.
The White House has tapped former Republican Sen. Barrett has already crossed swords with Democrats in her Senate confirmation hearing for her current job, when California Sen.
Leo said Hardiman of Pennsylvania and Kethledge of MI are "a little bit less known by conservatives". He recently voiced disagreement with a court decision allowing an undocumented teenage immigrant to get an abortion.
Leonard Leo, who is on leave from the Federalist Society and has been advising Trump over the court nomination, said he assumes Kavanaugh, Barrett, Hardiman and Kethledge "are the four" who are getting the most focus. "I don't think my role is a rubber stamp for the President, but it's also not an automatic, knee-jerk no either", Jones said.
Republicans in the Senate need to be completely united on the pick, because of the delicate nature of their majority. Sen.