Trump pledges July 9 announcement on Supreme Court nominee

In Supreme Court pick, Trump can push conservative social agenda

In Supreme Court pick, Trump can push conservative social agenda

WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump said on Friday that he planned to interview one or two candidates to fill Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's seat this weekend at his Bedminster, N.J., resort, and plans to announce his final pick on July 9.

Some possible nominees being eyed include Thomas Hardiman, who serves alongside Trump's sister on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Raymond Kethledge, a federal appeals court judge who clerked for Kennedy.

The nine-point difference could suggest an enthusiasm gap between the parties, as liberal groups sound the alarm that a newly configured court could outlaw abortion rights if a conservative nominee replaces Kennedy's swing vote. When you want your way, you don't nominate someone who will challenge your opinions.

The person Trump picks for the seat is nearly certainly going to be more conservative than Kennedy. Trump also said he did not intend to ask candidates their position on abortion. He had released a version of the list during the 2016 campaign and seemingly used it to assuage Republican voters uneasy about his conservative bona fides. "I would say that he is among the most powerful justices since at least 1937".

Trump talked about his plans in comments to reporters as he boarded Air Force One, CBS News, Bloomberg News, the Washington Post and USA Today report. The president told reporters, "It's a great group of intellectual talent". But Republican Senator John McCain, who has an aggressive form of brain cancer, has been absent from the Senate for months, meaning that if all Senate Democrats vote against Trump's eventual nominee, it would take only one Republican defection to defeat his pick.

Trump's statement that two women are included in his shortlist for the position may be meant to neutralize any plans by Democrats to stage an all-out war in the Senate. The only name Trump mentioned was U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

The Federalist Society is a nationwide organization of conservative lawyers who espouse conservative judicial philosophies.

In a statement, Murkowski noted her standards for the Supreme Court are "extremely high" and that she will cast an "independent vote" when the eventual nominee comes before the Senate.

Trump said he would probably interview six to seven candidates, while also saying he had narrowed his list to "about five" candidates.

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