Sen Claims Dems Would Block George Washington for Supreme Court

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The President is also said to be intrigued by Amy Coney Barrett, 46, whom he nominated to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, was a Notre Dame law professor and clerked for the late Antonin Scalia - the gold standard for conservatives in a Supreme Court nominee.

They include Judge Raymond Kethledge, 51, who sits on the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, who would puncture the Ivy League aura that cloaks the Supreme Court since he studied law at the University of MI and not Harvard or Yale.

President Donald Trump pointed before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport, in Morristown, N.J., Sunday, en route to Washington from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

Mr. Trump is set to announce his pick for the vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy at 9 p.m. Monday.

The White House hopes Kyl's close ties to Senate Republicans will help smooth the path for Trump's eventual selection to win confirmation.

Valentino explained that she and Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be strong conservative choices. Of the court's liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and Stephen Breyer turns 80 next month, so Trump may well get another opportunity to cement conservative dominance of the court for years to come. Asked by reporters how many people were being considered, the president said: "Let's say it's the four people ... they're excellent, every one". But almost all Senate Democrats and many Democratic voters are expected to oppose Trump's nominee.

In the coming year the court might have to consider Trump's powers and rights in the investigation into links between his presidential campaign and Russian Federation, and whether he sought to obstruct that probe.

Trump's sister Judge Maryanne Trump Barry also sits on the 3rd Circuit and reportedly backed Hardiman for the seat Gorsuch eventually filled.

Kennedy said he was bracing for a tough confirmation battle as Democrats focus on the nominee's views of the high court's Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion.

Track record: Barrett's recent ascension to the appeals court means she does not have the long, conservative record that lawmakers on the right find reassuring. Kelly Ayotte served as the "sherpa" for Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

Democrats girded for a fight as Trump kept up the suspense surrounding his shortlist of four possibles, all with solid right-wing credentials, ahead of the televised announcement to be made in prime time from the White House.

The new majority will essentially leave Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by President George W. Bush, as the only likely potential swing vote from the court's right wing justices. But Indiana's Joe Donnelly, North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia's Joe Manchin all say they won't attend.

Kethledge serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati. She rocketed to the top of Trump's earlier list of 25 Supreme Court candidates after her performance during her confirmation hearing last fall, when Democrats cited her deep Catholic faith as a potential problem.

"I'm very confident with this president's enthusiasm and with Leader McConnell's enthusiasm that they can get anybody confirmed", Mr. Leo said on ABC's "This Week".

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