After less than two weeks of deliberations, Trump is set to announce Monday at 9 p.m. ET his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a choice that could well affect the court, and Americans' constitutional rights, for a generation.
The White House said former Republican Senator Jon Kyl, now a Washington lobbyist, will help Trump's nominee navigate the Senate confirmation process. After winning confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch a year ago, Trump has teased his latest options for days, after narrowing down his list of prospects to four federal appeals-court judges: Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman. I do think the president has to think about who is the easiest to get confirmed here.
Barrett, 46, has the least judicial experience of the four, with only eight months as a judge after spending most of her career as a conservative legal scholar. "He takes the case before him and looks at the facts and precedents, but without imposing an overarching view of the law", Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh law professor to the Los Angeles Times. "I am thinking about this person". All three candidates remain in contention, but Trump has revived talk of Hardiman because he has not felt compelled, yet, to tap one of them. "You can't go wrong".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Hardiman and Kethledge may be the easiest to confirm because their records aren't as politically charged.
As soon as Trump announces his Supreme Court pick, Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative political advocacy organization, says it will start airing ads in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia promoting the nomination.
Trump's nom was unveiled in the White House's East Room, picking from his short list provided by right-wing Federalist Society.
Each choice represented a shift to the right compared to Kennedy, who has often cast a swing vote between conservatives and liberals on the nine-member bench. He called it the "fruit of a corrupt process straight from the D.C. swamp". Democrats may have a tough time putting up a procedural fight in the Senate, though, after Republicans in 2017 triggered the so-called "nuclear option" that allowed them to end Democratic filibustering of then-nominee Gorsuch by a simple majority vote, as opposed to the 60 votes previously required. Trump is committed to placing an extreme ideologue on the Court, who could endanger environmental protections, overturn Roe v. Wade, and undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions. They'll target three Democratic senators who voted for Gorsuch and who are running for re-election in states that Pres. Trump won.
The decision has far-reaching implications for America on everything from abortion to guns to immigration.
Kavanaugh was a favorite of some high-profile boosters, inside and outside the White House, but his stock has fallen off since Friday for a couple reasons: his ties to former President George W. Bush and the potential difficulty in getting him confirmed.
However, Maryanne Trump Barry, Trump's sister who also serves as a federal judge, has supported Hardiman-whom she served with on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.
Age was an important factor in making Trump's Supreme Court list; Kavanaugh is 53 years old, which would guarantee a measure of longevity on the court, if he is approved by Congress.
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