President Trump to Make Choice on SCOTUS Nominee on July 9

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy prepares to testify before the House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill

President Donald Trump said Friday that he has narrowed down his search for a seat on the Supreme Court to about five finalists, including two women, and will announce his pick July 9.

This comes after the president revealed the date to reporters on Air Force One Friday, and also noted he is considering five people for the pending vacancy, which includes two female judges. It doesn't matter if he asks them about their opinions on abortion rights because by the time a candidate interviews with him, they would have already been asked in the earlier vetting process.

Republicans changed Senate rules a year ago to get Trump's conservative nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed, lowering the threshold to advance Supreme Court nominations to a simple majority vote. "As you know, there are many presidents who never get a choice", Trump said.

The White House said Trump's team also spoke with more than a dozen additional senators.

Collins, who favors a woman's right to choose on abortion, joined like-minded Republican Lisa Murkowski at the White House meeting.

Kennedy, 81, announced Wednesday he would retire from the bench July 31 after three decades on the Supreme Court.

Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a campaign group aligned with McConnell, said the group began running ads Thursday in 10 states that Trump won in 2016 where Democratic senators are now up for re-election.

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has committed to confirming a nominee in the fall, which the Republican-controlled Senate should be able to do if McConnell can hold his razor-thin majority together. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate passes mammoth farm bill Trump has asked advisers about nominating Mike Lee to Supreme Court: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance - Dramatic battle looms after Kennedy's retirement MORE's (R-Utah) public acknowledgment he would not turn down the post.

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.

"We'd be very happy if he'd pick any name on that list", said Severino.

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