Vastavam web: The list of contenders to fill a Supreme Court vacancy by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy is narrowing, with President Donald Trump telling reporters that he’s focused on two or three people ahead of his Monday announcement.”I think I have it down to four people. And I think of the four people I have it down to three or two,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.The president, who was travelling to a campaign rally in Montana, has wrapped up the interview process and is moving closer to picking his court nominee amid intense jockeying from various factions seeking to influence the choice.
With customary fanfare, Trump plans to announce his selection Monday night. The administration is preparing roll-out plans for the leading contenders, and hopes to have a decision on the top one or two names in the next couple of days, so staff can conduct a deep-dive background ahead of the possible prime-time event, according to a senior administration official granted anonymity to discuss the plans.But as the president builds suspense for his second court pick in two years a nominee who could tip the balance toward conservatives and revisit landmark rulings on abortion access, gay marriage and other issues momentum is also growing among GOP supporters and detractors of the top contenders.
To counter that, Kavanaugh’s allies have begun pushing back, reaching out to influential Republicans to ward off potential criticisms, according to one conservative who was the recipient of such outreach and spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday to discuss the situation.The senior administration official, though, said the administration is feeling less heat than earlier in this week over the choices, particularly Kavanaugh, and believes the jockeying in general has calmed somewhat.With the Senate narrowly divided, 51-49, in favour of Republicans, Trump’s announcement will launch a contentious confirmation process as Republicans seek to shift the court to the right and Democrats strive to block the effort. Any GOP defections could begin to doom a nominee.
Schumer told Trump that such a choice would be “cataclysmic” and create more division than the country has seen in years, according to a person familiar with the conversation who said Trump called Schumer on Tuesday.The senator also told the president he could unify the country by nominating Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court who was blocked by Republicans in 2016.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said yesterday at an event in Louisville that he, too, has been talking to the president about the search and believes “the president will make a very high-quality appointment.”
He conducted interviews Monday and Tuesday. He could still consider others in the mix. He’s still taking input, making calls to Capitol Hill, the official said.Vice President Mike Pence also met with some of Trump’s contenders 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. Earlier in the week, he spoke with seven of them.But Lee has consistent support among conservative and libertarian activists, including some Republicans who worry about a nominee not upholding their principles and who say the Utah senator could bring more certainty.
More than two dozen conservatives, including Paul, wealthy GOP donor Rebekah Mercer and several tea party leaders, signed a letter backing Lee as having a “proven record.” Cruz advocated for Lee on Thursday in a Fox News op-ed warning Trump not to repeat “mistakes” of past Republican presidents by picking a Supreme Court nominee who turns out to be insufficiently conservative.Cruz said President George HW Bush’s selection of liberal David Souter was “one of the most consequential errors of his presidency.” He also pointed to former justices William Brennan, John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun, the latter of whom wrote the Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman’s right to abortion. All three were nominated by Republican presidents.