Trump Narrows Supreme Court Search to Three Front-Runners

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McConnell works closely with the Federalist Society, which is at the forefront of conservative judicial thinking, and he helped the group draft Trump's list of 25 potential Supreme Court nominees.

The president also had an additional phone call with Utah GOP Sen. "Every president is remembered for his nominations to the Supreme Court - and not always positively".

Cruz's pitch comes only days after Lee's office confirmed the senator was formally interviewed by the president about the Supreme Court opening.

Aware that judicial picks are key voting issues, Trump has stressed that he wants a justice who will be a strict constitutionalist.

Bush also nominated Kethledge, of MI, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in March 2017.

A handful of nominees are on Trump's shortlist, but there's only one woman - Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The New Yorker has preferred to take a hands-off approach to his moderate members, rather than twisting arms on big votes. I think that there are three distinctions that are important. "They are shaped by love of Holy Scripture, prayer and community; and the Church's mission is richer for their presence". So they're all four Federal Appeals Court judges from different parts of the country.

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That advertising campaign, directed at Collins, asks whether or not she believes past statements by the president signaling he could seek to appoint justices that would upend the Roe v. Wade precedent. IL law protects it. Trump conducted interviews on Monday and Tuesday and has spoken to seven possible candidates. If confirmed, she would be the fifth woman to join the court and one of four now on the court. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is another Republican who has supported abortion.

Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has told colleagues he may not vote for Kavanaugh if the judge is nominated, citing Kavanaugh's role during the Bush administration on cases involving executive privilege and the disclosure of documents to Congress, said a person familiar with Paul's conversations who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, federal appeals court Judge Raymond Kethledge and even Justice Neil Gorsuch have said they got no advance word they were listed. He's 51. Judge Kavanaugh's 53 - also quite conservative and young and has a great resume. In her 20s she co-authored a paper that said Catholic judges, if they are faithful to church teachings, are "morally precluded" from enforcing the death penalty.

Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh - a longtime judge and former clerk for Kennedy - questioning his commitment to social issues like abortion and noting his time serving under President George W. Bush as evidence he is a more establishment choice.

Sources tell FOX News and CNN that Judge Thomas Michael Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals is now a rising candidate to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. "You're on the list!'" Kethledge said in an interview with Above the Law, a legal website.

"Kavanaugh is not another Roberts; he's another Scalia, Alito, or Gorsuch", he wrote, referring to conservative justices. Kethledge sided with the majority, joining Judge Jeffrey Sutton's concurring opinion, one of several siding with the man who, under MI law, had no mechanism to petition to dispute his status as "mentally ill" and who was unable to own firearms, despite having led an exemplary life without signs of mental illness for decades.