Pence met in person with Kethledge and Barrett while he was vacationing in IN earlier this week and met with Kavanaugh at the Naval Observatory on Wednesday, said a person familiar with the process who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another person familiar with the process said Friday the White House was focusing on Kavanaugh, Barrett, Kethledge and Thapar, as well as Thomas Hardiman, another appeals court judge.
A second person close to the president said Thursday that Kavanaugh and Kethledge are the shortlist. The Associated Press has learned that Vice President Mike Pence has met with some of the candidates in recent days. "I don't think it's that challenging because even people who would be considered "pro-life" - not the hardcore pro-lifers - a lot of people are in the middle". As I said, if the president wants to meet with me, I'm ready to participate and advocate for North Dakota. But I have it down to four.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wrote in a Fox News op-ed that Lee would be a "sure thing", warning Republican presidents have seriously erred, choosing former justices William Brennan, John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun, the author of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision. "I doubt it", he said. After law school, he served as a law clerk for Judge Ralph Guy Jr. a Judge on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Working closely with a White House team and consulting with lawmakers and outside advisers, Trump has spent the week deliberating on the choice.
"Do you know him?" "You know, if you look back at Republican nominations to the court, Democrats have batted nearly 1000". The interviews comprised seven conversations - Trump talked to one candidate twice.
"He listens to everybody, big or small, influential or not, and absorbs it all", said Trump friend and Newsmax chief executive Christopher Ruddy. Then came the Supreme Court vacancy. If confirmed, he will be the first Indian American and Asian American, both burgeoning sections of the America population, to become a Supreme Court judge.
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With Mr. Trump's announcement coming Monday, some conservatives are taking aim at Judge Kavanaugh, of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, for rulings on abortion and Obamacare. But the second time around, Murkowski could prove to be more hard for the White House to get a solid yes.
Kavanaugh previously served as a law clerk for Kennedy, an independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation, and as senior associate counsel and assistant to the president in the Bush administration.
Kavanaugh, after serving in the Bush White House, joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2006 after Democrats held up his nomination process for three years. As a former clerk who worked at the Supreme Court for Justice Scalia and as a Notre Dame law professor, Barrett has the necessary training, knowledge, and philosophy to serve on the Supreme Court.
Amy Coney Barrett is emerging as a strong contender. "The dogma lives loudly within you, and that's of concern", Feinstein said of Barrett.
Trump has said he's narrowed his search to about five finalists, including two women. Some social conservatives, in boosting Barrett, have raised doubts about Kavanaugh's commitment to their cause, spurring others to defend Kavanaugh's conservative judicial record. Republicans control the chamber 51-49, but Sen. Kavanaugh would have delayed the teen's abortion, in line with the Trump administration's position, but another judge would have gone farther and declared that, as someone who is in the USA illegally, the teen had no right at all to an abortion.
A Kentucky federal judge is no longer in the running to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy. She was unafraid to break with GOP orthodoxy on issues like health care, leading to the possibility she does the same on a Supreme Court nominee she might deem too textualist or conservative. "They've just gone through the committee in the a year ago and a half", one aide says. If Roe v. Wade is overturned. Kethledge also has first-hand experience with Congress.
The rush of scrutiny gave Kethledge's backers hope that his chances were perhaps rising - and a preview of the political firestorm he would face on Capitol Hill should he be nominated.