Trump narrows Supreme Court nominee to 4 names ahead of today's announcement

Judge Thomas Hardiman smiles during a meeting with The Associated Press in Philadelphia

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.

On Monday night, Trump announced Kavanaugh's nomination to replace Kennedy, who was considered a swing vote on numerous Supreme Court's controversial decisions.

Four red-state Democrats refused President Donald Trump's invitation to attend his Supreme Court nominee announcement Monday night at the White House, according to their offices.

He also spoke highly of Hardiman and Kavanaugh, describing Kavanaugh as "politically very astute, honest, decent, good looking - he's got it all!" He holds numerous same values as Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was also appointed to the Supreme Court by President Trump. President Barack Obama announced the selection of Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor from the White House during the day. The Senate ultimately confirmed Gorsuch by a 54-45 vote, with only three Democrats crossing the partisan divide in his favor.

During her nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barrett was questioned about her religious beliefs. Sen. Republicans meanwhile are lobbying the White House on behalf of their preferred candidate.

Trump kept the suspense running through the weekend, teasing the announcement for maximum dramatic effect, but by Monday afternoon was reported to have made his pick among a shortlist of four judges, all with solid right-wing credentials.

While activists and progressive groups are targeting moderate Republican senators who support abortion rights like Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, urging them to reject any Trump nominee who is hostile to Roe v. Wade, a handful of Democrats will be key in deciding whether the president gets his pick confirmed to the high court, because of the razor-thin partisan divide in the Senate.

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Sabraw had ordered the July 10 deadline in response to a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union. But on Monday, she said nine were removed from the United States and another nine were released here.

Conservatives have taken issue with a potential Kavanaugh nomination, with some critics on the right citing his closeness to the Bush 43 administration while others believe he doesn't have a strong enough stance against abortion.

McConnell and Trump were rewarded this year with a string of 5-4 decisions in which Gorsuch cast votes favorable to the president and the GOP.

The president has spent the days leading up to the decision mulling the pros and cons of the various options with aides and allies. But the situation appeared to remain fluid.

Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd - who doesn't have a vote on the matter, as it's the Senate job to confirm federal judges - was enthusiastic about Kavanaugh, even though he had endorsed federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a former law professor at the University of Notre Dame, for Kennedy's seat on the high court.

Judge Kavanaugh has served as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006, authoring more than 300 opinions, including 11 that have been affirmed by the Supreme Court. He co-authored a book with Army veteran Mike Erwin of The Positivity Project published previous year called "Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude". "I look forward to meeting the nominee in a setting where we can discuss his or her experience, judicial philosophy & perspective on access to healthcare for WVians with pre-existing conditions". "This is a really big decision for him".

Kavanaugh, 53, was first nominated to the appeals court by President George W. Bush in 2003. Dick Durbin of IL on NBC's "Meet the Press" said Sunday.

The White House reassigned key communications staff last week to focus exclusively on the looming Supreme Court fight. The Heritage Foundation is the nation's largest conservative think tank and has provided thousands of policy recommendations and personnel suggestions to multiple presidents and to Congress since 1975. "And I expect we will do that on sort of a normal timetable, a couple of months". Still, Kavanaugh has been vetted by the Federalist Society, which applied a hard-core conservative litmus test before submitting a list to Trump.

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