A quick look at the "final four" Supreme Court candidates

Pres. Trump: 'Very Close' To Making Final Supreme Court Pick

"He's a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time". Over the course of Judge Kavanaugh's impressive legal career, he has built a reputation as a fair, independent, and mainstream judge who has earned widespread respect from his peers.

President Trump campaigned with a promise to conservatives that he would fill the federal courts, from the top on down, with judges to their liking.

Kavanaugh is likely to be more conservative than Justice Kennedy on a range of social issues.

Judge Kavanaugh now faces what could be a hard fight for confirmation by the US Senate, where Republicans hold only a slim majority.

The Washington, D.C. native has twice rejected challenges to Obamacare, leading some conservatives to question whether he would continue to uphold the legislation, as Chief Justice John Roberts has done.

Like the 50-year-old Gorsuch, Kavanaugh potentially could serve on the high court for decades. The president also has been considering federal appeals court Judges Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman. Now it remains to be seen whether or not his confirmation can actually be wrapped up by the beginning of the court's new term in October.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of SC and Roy Blunt of Missouri said Sunday that they believe any of the top four contenders could get confirmed by the GOP-majority Senate. Luther Strange, cutting the GOP's Senate majority to 51-49.

Some Republicans are said to be concerned about his Bush connections.

As aides prepared for a prime time announcement Monday, Trump tweeted: "I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice - Will be announced tonight at 9:00 P.M".

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"The Supreme Court is entrusted with the safeguard of the crown jewel of our republic, the Constitution of the United States", Trump said. His father, also a lawyer, was mentioned merely for inspiring the nominee's love of sports, which Kavanaugh says he has passed on to his young daughters, whose basketball teams he coaches.

CBS has learned he's narrowed the list of contenders to four appeals court judges.

Kyl, a former member of Republican leadership, served on the Senate Judiciary Committee before retiring in 2013. If he is confirmed, it will mark the first time ever that a current or former Supreme Court justice has two former clerks become justices, according to an article by Adam Feldman, who writes a blog about the Supreme Court.

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Gorsuch restored the court's conservative majority.

Kavanaugh's work on the Starr report has been scrutinized by Republicans who have said it could pose trouble for the president as he negotiates with special counsel Robert Mueller over the terms of a possible interview related to Mueller's Russian Federation probe. Kavanaugh in 2009 changed his tune on the Starr probe, arguing that presidents should be free from civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions and investigations while in office.

Liberals plan to paint Kavanaugh as an extremist who can not be trusted, because of the process through which he was chosen, which included being part of a preapproved list drawn up for Trump during the campaign. John McCain back in Arizona fighting cancer, McConnell can not afford to lose a single Republican vote without convincing Democrats to cross the aisle and back a candidate who is largely seen as a conservative nominee.

The new justice can be expected to cast crucial votes on other matters of national importance including gay rights, gun control, the death penalty and voting rights.

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 investigation.

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