Trump completes interviews for Justice Kennedy's replacement

Geraldine Edwards
July 10, 2018

Savoring the suspense, President Trump is weighing his choice on a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy from the seclusion of his golf club in New Jersey.

After a series of interviews, Trump is expected to announce his nominee on Monday, similar to the way he made his first Supreme Court selection at the White House and on live television in January 2017 - during prime-time hours.

Among institutionalists, in turn, we should prefer someone who is primarily a judicial conservative over a social conservative.

WERTHEIMER: So who's still in contention?

Our friends at One News Now report that President Trump's top contenders for the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement are federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge, according to a person familiar with Trump's thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

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In Republican-leaning IN, a federal appeals court struck down IN April a law signed IN 2016 by Republican then-Gov. By choosing to retire with Trump in office, Kennedy has opened the door for a conservative to be his successor, possibly altering the Court's balance for years. "Most conservatives know that I have a long record of supporting women's reproductive health freedoms. and that is not going to change", she told reporters Monday. But that "elevates the saliency of other issues" where the Supreme Court has ruled, including the Affordable Care Act and coverage for contraception.

Barrett, 46, clerked for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. After the Obama administration issued its 2011 Dear Colleague Letter urging schools to adopt a lower standard of proof for cases of sexual misconduct, the Justice Department began investigating whether schools were complying, even though that letter, like Tuesday's shift in policy by the Trump administration, did not alter the law. He is, in many ways, a very appealing candidate.

"This is a major vulnerability for Heitkamp, Donnelly, and Manchin. but also for people like Bob Casey [a Democrat from Pennsylvania] who calls himself pro-life, Claire McCaskill, and other vulnerable Democrats in states that Trump won overwhelmingly", says Ms. Quigley. Feinstein told Barrett "the dogma lives loudly within you," contending her writings indicated her religious beliefs would prevail over the law.

Mr. Devins, the law professor, said the difference between the current court and those in the past was that there was typically either a conservative appointed by a Democratic president or a liberal named by a Republican. Barrett was rigorously tested during her hearing a year ago before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Cruz rested his case by asserting if Trump chose Lee, he would become the first president "in recent history to hit a home run" on all of his nominees. "I think they're all outstanding". That is notable for a court with six Catholics and three Jewish justices. They seem to have momentum.

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Of the other two, he added: "Ray Kethledge and Tom Hardiman, they're a little bit less known by conservatives". Kethledge upheld rapist and murderer Marvin Gabrion's death penalty which Gabrion's lawyers sought to overturn in part based on Michigan's lack of a death penalty. He's been on that court for about a decade.

Raymond Kethledge, a former Kennedy law clerk and appeals court judge from MI, is thought to be a leading contender. By painting those guidelines in a New York Times column, Schumer offered a roadmap for Donnelly, Manchin and Heitkamp. He, in some ways, could be nearly like a lower risk - you could argue for conservatives a lower award perhaps than Judge Kavanaugh, in the sense that he doesn't have as much in his background that would be quite as controversial.

Bush later nominated him to the D.C. Circuit Court.

LAT: Judge Hardiman is a judge on the 3rd Circuit. He's also seen as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. He was a trial court judge before he joined the appeals court.

So what sort of extreme conservative might be preferable to have on the Supreme Court, if that must be our choice?

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WERTHEIMER: OK. Who's your pick? "They're good judges. I think they'd be fine justices of the Supreme Court".

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