Trump continues interviews with Supreme Court candidates

Tonya Becker
July 5, 2018

President Trump is on the verge of announcing a nominee to the Supreme Court who undoubtedly will be given the seal of approval by right-leaning groups dedicated to reversing Roe v. Wade.

Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, has expressed reservations about one top potential nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, according to a person familiar with the call but not authorized to publicly disclose details of it.

Republicans control the Senate, which must confirm any nominee, by a 51-49 majority, making the views of moderates such as Collins, and some Democrats, crucial to assembling the 51 votes needed for confirmation.

Paul's objections echo those made by outside conservative groups over Kavanaugh, who is seen by some as to much an establishment-aligned choice. Chief Justice John Roberts, for example, wrote a brief as a Department of Justice employee in 1990 that supported overturning the ruling But during his 2006 confirmation hearing before the Senate, he said the ruling was "settled as a precedent of the Court". Such an important decision and we're going to give you a great one.

Barrett has won some high-profile praise, with former House speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich tweeting Monday: "Judge Amy Coney Barrett would make an outstanding Supreme Court Justice". There were the four interviews Monday, as well as a conversation with Republican Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Judge Amul Thapar of the Sixth Circuit, and three other candidates in connection with the Supreme Court seat.


Hardiman has served on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2007, after being appointed by President George W. Bush and winning unanimous approval in the Senate.

Kethledge, 51, is a former Kennedy law clerk and appeals court judge who graduated from the University of MI and its law school.

One day after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, a group calling itself Demand Justice staged a rally outside the court's front steps.

Mr. Thapar was appointed a judge on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals by Mr. Trump previous year. The person did not specify which candidates Pence met with and spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday to describe the private search process.

Trump has also been consulting with lawmakers - including Sen.


Paul's office did not respond to requests for comment. A Court that seemed likely, after Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016, to shift in a "liberal" direction could well embrace a more "conservative" approach, not only to statutory and constitutional interpretation, but also with respect to its own role in our government, our policies, and our culture. His mild dissent in a case upholding the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate left room for conservatives as well as liberals to disagree. She said Tuesday he has "two or three more that he'll interview this week and then make a decision".

The president also spoke by phone with Lee on Monday, as first reported by the Deseret News and later confirmed by the senator's office, which characterized it as an interview.

But Trump's potential picks have a sharp divide between those with a long service on the circuit courts and those who are brand new, setting up what could be very different confirmation battles in terms of the contours of the fight.

The White House also announced Monday that the overall confirmation process would be led by White House counsel Donald McGahn, as it was during the process that led to the successful confirmation a year ago of Justice Neil Gorsuch.


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