Donald Trump weighs long list of names for Supreme Court vacancy

Katie Ramirez
June 30, 2018

President Donald Trump said Friday he has narrowed his list of Supreme Court finalists to five candidates, including two women, and plans to announce his nominee on July 9, one day before he is scheduled to depart for a week-long European trip.

"I've got it down to about five" candidates, including two women, Trump told reporters on Air Force One as he traveled to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. He indicated that he may interview one or two candidates there this weekend.

Other favorites to land the nomination include 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge Brett Kavanaugh and 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judges Raymond Kethledge and Amul Thapar.

Republicans changed Senate rules previous year to get Trump's conservative nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed, lowering the threshold to advance Supreme Court nominations to a simple majority vote.

"The fact that there's a modest enthusiasm disadvantage isn't all that meaningful because there's already an enthusiasm gap for Republicans", he said, noting Democratic anger towards Trump.

"Say hello to your boy - special guy", Trump told Kennedy, alluding to Kennedy's son, Justin.

There is only one reason for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., not to follow the precedent he set in 2016 by refusing to consider Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court: "Mitch McConnell doesn't care", said Steve Benen, an MSNBC producer for "The Rachel Maddow Show".

Ninety percent of Democrats said the vacancy would make them more likely to vote for a Democratic Senate candidate in the November 6 election, compared with 81 percent of Republicans who said the issue would make them more likely to vote for a Senate candidate from their party.

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During Mr. Kennedy's tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump's most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in NY and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history. But a new Pew report this week on the recent history of Senate races, and their relationship to presidential outcomes, makes it clearer than ever what kind of mountain Democrats are climbing in terms of their effort to reclaim the upper chamber. Asked about Barrett, he said, "She's an outstanding woman".

Manchin might be Trump's closest ally across the aisle - the president even considered him for a Cabinet job - and Manchin left open the possibility of supporting Trump for re-election in 2020. You know, usually, they don't say that.

The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative political campaign organization, has launched a seven-figure ad buy aimed at vulnerable Democrats, said chief counsel and policy director Carrie Severino.

"But another win would be the president's vision with respect to Syria", she said.

"We'd be very happy if he'd pick any name on that list", said Severino. "If we were to get another conservative justice to the bench at the Supreme Court, I think our chances are much, much higher". "What we're seeing here is Gorsuch 2.0".

During the Gorsuch nomination, the White House took great pains to keep the public guessing on Trump's final choice, whisking Gorsuch to Washington on a military jet and having him stay quietly with friends, away from hotels.

Trump is expected to announce his nominee within a few weeks.

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