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Pence meets with contenders for Supreme Court
10 July 2018, 06:54 | Glen Norman
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He is now serving as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in MI.
However, Lee's name is on Trump's list of potential choices for the Supreme Court, and since Kennedy announced his intention to retire, Lee has kept open the possibility the President could tap him to join the court.
White House spokesman Raj Shah said Trump spoke to three potential picks Tuesday.
The confirmation process promises to be a fight.
The president's top contenders include federal appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge, with federal appeals court judge Thomas Hardiman still considered in the mix.
A person familiar with the selection process said Trump was focused on two people, federal appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, but others were still in contention. But Trump's final decision remained far from clear, and the president wants to keep the guessing game going. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, have raised concerns about Kavanaugh, warning he could disappoint Republicans if his past decisions are a guide. He confirmed that he would announce his final decision on Monday night at 9 pm at the White House.
His concerns mirror comments from some conservatives who view Kavanaugh as a more establishment-aligned pick on abortion and issues related to the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. "His record is there for everyone to inspect", says Josh Blackman, an associate professor at South Texas College of Law active in Washington legal circles.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation" that Trump doesn't need to ask where nominees stand on overturning Roe v. Wade because his list has already been screened on that issue by the Federalist Society.
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 Thursday to discuss the situation. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate with a 54-45 vote months later.
McConnell acknowledged that his fellow Kentuckian, Judge Amul Thapar, is a finalist, but noted, "The competition at this level is pretty intense". He conducted interviews on Monday and Tuesday and has spoken to seven possible candidates.
White House officials close to the United States president say personality will be as important a factor as politics in the decision, a strategy Mr Trump has taken with previous high-profile appointments.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of only two Republican senators who supports abortion rights, told ABC's This Week she's looking for a nominee who would demonstrate a respect for precedent and that she sees Roe as settled law. The person did not specify which candidates Pence met with and spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday to describe the private search process.
Bonauto noted that previous year, then-nominee Neil Gorsuch refused to answer questions about certain cases, such as Brown v. Board of Education, and the senators should not allow that to happen this time. A graduate of University of Michigan Law School, he clerked for Kennedy in the late 1990s and advised Republican Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan.
Collins and King need to take "a very, very hard look" at the nominees, "and not accept facile answers as Senator Collins has in the past", said Portland civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto, who successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 for same-sex couples to have the right to marry. It's an open question whether any of it will actually influence his decision.
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McConnell does not, however, support the administration's now-reversed policy of separating immigrant children from their parents. The separation of families drew intense criticism until President Donald Trump ended the policy by executive order last month.
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