Published: Tue, July 10, 2018

Trump Adviser Says Two Supreme Court Candidates Are Tougher Sell

Trump Adviser Says Two Supreme Court Candidates Are Tougher Sell

Two candidates on President Donald Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees - federal appeals court Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett - were singled out for praise Sunday by a top legal adviser to the president, indicating they remain prominent in the search.

Trump plans to announce his pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy during prime time Monday night.

Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh - a longtime judge and a former clerk for Kennedy - questioning his commitment to social issues like abortion and noting his time serving under President George W. Bush as evidence he is a more establishment choice.

Just past year, in Garza v. Hargan, Kavanaugh claimed that the Trump administration should be allowed to delay an undocumented minor's abortion by literally holding them prisoner to prevent them from reaching an abortion clinic. President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland in March 2016, but the Republican-controlled Senate did not take up the nomination.

He also worked for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated then president Bill Clinton but in 2009 he was reported as saying that presidents should be free from civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions and investigations while in office.

A Maryland native whose mother was a public school teacher who went on to serve as a state judge in Maryland, Kavanaugh got his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University.


Hardiman has a personal connection to the president, having served with Trump's sister on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

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.

Shah has paused his other White House duties to lead the yet-unnamed nominee through his or her confirmation. Trump's nominee can win confirmation with only Republican votes, but attention will quickly shift to two moderate GOP senators, Maine's Susan Collins and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who are supportive of abortion rights.

"The president was going to change and the people were going to have the opportunity in November to vote on the premise that the next president is going to be appointing a Supreme Court Justice", she said. Joe Donnelly, West Virginia Sen. But Senate Democrats held up his confirmation for three years, accusing him of being a Bush political operative. Not long after Schumer spoke, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused the "far left" of engaging in "scare tactics" over the nominee.

While the USA president has been pondering his choice, his aides have been preparing for what is expected to be a tough confirmation fight. Kavanaugh had been a law clerk for Kennedy. White House counsel Don McGahn's office is overseeing the effort. The court's ruling in her favor was based on a constitutional principle, he wrote, "as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. Government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand". Kavanaugh will need to be confirmed by a majority of the Senate before taking his place as one of the nine Supreme Court justices. The court's senior liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is 85.

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