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Trump Narrows Search for New Supreme Court Justice

Trump Narrows Search for New Supreme Court Justice

President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump, background right, board Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport, in Morristown, N.J., Sunday, July 8, 2018, en route to Washington from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

The reality-TV-star-turned-president will interrupt The Bachelorette to announce his choice in a live television broadcast from the White House at 9 p.m. ET on Monday night.

The Trump administration is courting red-state Democrats in an attempt to win over enough senators to confirm whomever the President chooses to replace Anthony Kennedy, who announced he is retiring. "What matters is not a judge's political views but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require", Trump said. If approved by the Senate, he would become the fifth conservative justice on the nation's highest court.

On Sunday Leonard Leo, a Federalist Society official who has been advising Trump, added a fourth name: that of Thomas Hardiman, 53, a federal appeals court judge in Philadelphia.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of SC and Roy Blunt of Missouri said Sunday that they believe any of the top four contenders could get confirmed by the GOP-majority Senate.

"We are close to making a decision", said Trump.

Conservative judicial activists will immediately begin running ads pressuring politically vulnerable Democratic senators to vote for confirmation. Kennedy provided a decisive vote in 2015 on an important fair housing case. Kavanaugh in his dissent mentioned that a financial penalty levied under Obamacare on Americans who opted not to obtain health insurance might be considered a tax, a pivotal distinction in the conservative legal challenge to the law.

The process is arduous, with the private meetings giving way to days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats.

As soon as Kennedy announced his retirement plans on June 27, Democrats mobilized, arguing that anyone Trump selects would be hand-picked to help roll back abortion rights, Affordable Care Act protections, same-sex marriage, and scores of other decisions that have shaped modern America - while ruling in favor of corporations and against under-represented minorities.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, though with ailing Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona they now can muster only 50 votes. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Doug Jones of Alabama to attend the evening White House announcement, but all declined to attend.

The nominee, a District of Columbia appeals court judge, is a former adviser to ex-President George W Bush.

"He's a good man and I like him", Casey said of Hardiman.

The president, though, is operating with 50 Republican votes and a very legitimate possibility no Democrats will flip, but Sen. The Supreme Court could be called upon to weigh in on these matters.

Like Trump's first nominee to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh clerked for Kennedy. Trump had a strong favorable reaction to Kethledge, while Barrett was seen as a less likely choice.

Meanwhile, liberal groups are already calling on two moderate Republican senators - Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - to reject the nominee.

The US Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter on contentious laws and disputes between states and the federal government. A more conservative majority could be more willing to uphold state restrictions on abortion, if not overturn the 45-year-old landmark Roe v Wade decision that established a woman's constitutional right.