As Trump Weighs Options, Pence Meets With Court Contenders - NECN
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

The latest news on President Donald Trump's presidency

As Trump Weighs Options, Pence Meets With Court Contenders

Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Is Retiring

    Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire July 31. Kennedy was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. (Published Wednesday, June 27, 2018)

    Vice President Mike Pence has met with some of the contenders for the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, The Associated Press has learned.

    The meetings took place in recent days, according to a person familiar with the search process. The person did not specify which candidates Pence met with and spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday to describe the private search process.

    President Donald Trump has spoken with seven potential candidates and is set to announce his decision on Monday.

    Trump has said he'll choose his nominee from a list of 25 candidates vetted by conservative groups. Top contenders include federal appeals judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amul Thapar and Amy Coney Barrett — all of whom spoke with Trump on Monday.

    GOP Pushes for New Supreme Court Justice by Autumn

    [NATL] Republicans Push for New Supreme Court Justice as Democrats Make Case for Waiting

    News of Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement is stoking arguments between Republicans, who are pushing to confirm a new justice by fall, and Democrats, who argue a vote should wait until after the November midterms. Kennedy was a key swing vote among the nine justices. 

    (Published Friday, June 29, 2018)

    Trump has also spoken with Thomas Hardiman, who has served with Trump's sister on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, according to a person familiar with the conversation who also was not authorized to publicly discuss it.

    Another candidate considered a top contender is Joan Larsen, who serves on the federal appeals court in Cincinnati.

    The president spoke by phone with Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah on Monday. He's the only lawmaker on Trump's list.

    Trump's choice to replace Kennedy — a swing vote on the nine-member court — has the potential to remake the court for a generation as part of precedent-shattering decisions on abortion, health care, gay marriage and other issues. Recognizing the stakes, many Democrats have lined up in opposition to any Trump pick, and Republican lawmakers and activists are seeking to shape the president's decision.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has told colleagues he may not vote for Kavanaugh if the judge is nominated, citing Kavanaugh's role during the Bush administration on cases involving executive privilege and the disclosure of documents to Congress, said a person familiar with Paul's conversations who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

    Some conservatives have pointed to Kethledge as a potential justice in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee last year. Both Kethledge and Gorsuch once served Kennedy as law clerks, as did Kavanaugh. Kethledge, a Michigan Law graduate, would add academic diversity to a court steeped in the Ivy League.

    'Late Night': A Closer Look at Trump's Rally, Kennedy

    [NATL] 'Late Night': A Closer Look at Trump's Rally, Kennedy Retirement

    Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Republicans rushing to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy while simultaneously working to stop the Russia investigation.

    (Published Friday, June 29, 2018)

    Since Trump said his short list includes at least two women, speculation has focused on Barrett, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who serves on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Conservative groups rallied around Barrett after her confirmation hearing last year featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions.

    On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, reiterated that she could not vote for a nominee with a "demonstrated hostility" to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion.

    "I think I've made it pretty clear if a nominee has demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade and has said that they're not going to abide by that long-standing precedent, that I could not support that nominee," Collins told reporters at a holiday parade in Bangor.

    But Collins said she also wouldn't blindly vote to confirm someone she thinks is unworthy in other respects — even if he or she supports Roe v. Wade.

    Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Marina Villeneuve contributed to this report.