Waltham native Thomas Hardiman still among Trump's Supreme Court finalists

Trump focused on Kavanaugh, Kethledge for Supreme Court: source

Trump has said he plans to announce his nominee to replace the retiring Anthony M. Kennedy on Monday.

All three are current federal judges, Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge. Mr. Pence hasn't met with any of the other candidates, according to a White House official.

Asked about the details of the selection process, Trump said he had it down to four people.

President Trump should directly take on Russian President Vladimir Putin for meddling in the US political process in their one-on-one meeting in Helsinki next week, Republican Sen.

Debates over Kavanaugh's work with Bush and rulings he has made on health care and abortion continued to churn Thursday as critics urged the president to shy away from a judge with an establishment Republican pedigree.

Justice Kennedy, 81, recently announced his retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court. "Republicans have run roughshod over traditions to get these Federalist Society nominees approved, and we're making sure that we communicate just how unprecedented this list is - to have specific litmus tests for Supreme Court justices".

Kavanaugh, 53, helped investigate President Bill Clinton as part of independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's team and then served as an aide to Bush before joining the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2006. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who is not said to be under serious consideration by the White House but is the only lawmaker Trump has considered for the position.

The resignation Thursday of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, after months of scrutiny over ethics issues added some uncertainty to Trump's timeline for a Supreme Court decision.

Less than an hour later, Fox News reporter John Roberts tweeted that the White House is preparing four "rollout packages" for Trump's nomination announcement.

"In choosing Justice Kennedy's replacement, my greatest responsibility is to select a Justice who will faithfully interpret the Constitution as written", he said in the video address.

Cuccinelli's remark was a wry reference to another contender, Coney Barrett, whom social conservatives unsure about Kavanaugh have rallied behind this week.

Barrett, who was appointed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals just a year ago, is the youngest of the three final candidates and is the conservative favorite. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen.

As Trump's list tightened, there was some internal concern that the president's options could be narrowed by the public outcry - particularly what had appeared to be mounting conservative reservations about Kavanaugh.

Trump said during his campaign that he will nominate staunchly pro-life judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion a state-level issue. Trump past year appointed conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to take a seat that the Republican-led U.S. Senate, which must confirm nominees to the high court, had prevented Democratic former President Barack Obama from filling in 2016 following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Both senators supported all three of Trump's reported finalists when they were nominated as circuit court judges.

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