Trump poised to announce US Supreme Court nominee

Trump poised to announce US Supreme Court nominee

Trump poised to announce US Supreme Court nominee

National media reports indicate that Trump is considering the pluses and minuses of four finalists, all of them federal appeals court judges: Brett Kavanaugh of Washington, D.C.; Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania; Amy Coney Barrett of IN; and Raymond Kethledge of MI.

Trump is set to announce his nominee to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy in a prime-time televised address Monday.

Trump had said he hoped to make his decision by the time he returned Sunday from a weekend in New Jersey, but he told reporters en route to the White House that he needed more time.

The privilege of naming justices to the U.S. Supreme Court - judges whose decisions could affect the lives of Americans for decades - is one of the most consequential choices a president can make. As an attorney, Kavanaugh worked for the special counsel investigating former President Bill Clinton, who was eventually impeached, and also worked for the Bush campaign during the 2000 presidential election recount.

Ahead of the decision, Trump has built suspense about whom his pick will be.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said opponents were using "40-year-old scare tactics" over abortion and other issues but they "will not stop us from doing the right thing".

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While the U.S. Senate once required a 60-vote supermajority to overcome blocking tactics against Supreme Court nominees, the Republican majority changed the rules past year during the debate on Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Kethledge, 51, has served on the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2008 after also being appointed by Bush. The president's nominee, if confirmed, will likely solidify a five-seat conservative majority on the nine-member court.

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Those who discussed the president's decision, and spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not disclose the name of the president's selection.

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David Lat: Judge Hardiman is a judge for the 3rd Circuit based out of Pittsburgh and I think there are several things the president likes about him. Other Democrats who represent heavily Republican states will also be under pressure to support the nominee.

In his dozen years on the court, Kavanaugh has been involved in some 286 opinions.

With a slim one-vote majority in the Senate, any GOP defections could prove problematic in winning confirmation for Trump's eventual choice - that is, if Democrats hold together in opposition.

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.

The Democratic senator is up for re-election this year in a state Trump won in 2016.

One Democrat from a red state, Alabama's Doug Jones, told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he did not rule out voting for Trump's nominee. "I don't think my role is to rubber-stamp for the president, but it's also not an automatic knee-jerk no, either". Susan Collins said she wouldn't support a nominee hostile to the court's precedent in Roe v. Wade - and the conservative Barrett has expressed a willingness to reverse precedent she sees as wrongly decided.

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