Published: Tue, July 03, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Trump's Supreme Court search begins, youth a key factor

Trump's Supreme Court search begins, youth a key factor

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, giving President Donald Trump a golden chance to cement conservative control of the high court. He said he planned to interview one or two of them this weekend in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending time with family at his private golf course.

Thomas Hardiman, a judge of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was Trump's runner-up to Gorsuch and potentially the front-runner to now succeed Kennedy, who was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan in 1987.

Other names on Trump's shortlist reportedly include former Kennedy clerk Raymond Kethledge; Amul Thapar, the preferred choice of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; and Sen.

Ms. Severino said that makes Justice Roberts something of a "wild card" on the question of whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established the constitutional right to an abortion.

That spring, McConnell repeatedly cited a nonexistent Senate "tradition" of not considering Supreme Court nominees during a president's past year in office.

But whatever Mr. Trump said during his campaign, Leonard Leo, who advises the president on judicial nominations, said abortion did not come up in Mr. Trump's interviews with prospective nominees when he chose Justice Neil Gorsuch previous year. "I am not going to vote for anyone who tells me they are going to decide a case before the facts are presented".

Trump said he would start the effort to replace Kennedy "immediately" and would pick from a list of 25 names he updated a year ago.

Without Kennedy, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans.

Trump was also asked about Sen.

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Liberals fear that the next justice, who would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, will help overturn Roe v. Wade.

A key part of the vetting process will likely be reviewing the judge's history of written opinions, said a person with knowledge of Trump's thinking, who noted that the range of Gorsuch's past opinions impressed Trump.

Asked about Barrett, he said, "She's an outstanding woman".

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said Friday it would be tougher to confirm someone who would revamp the landmark decision. "I said, 'Mr. President, that's your choice'". Senate Democrats' blockade of key nominees in 2001 and 2002 when they held the majority and their serial filibusters of nominees in 2003 and 2004 led to the first threat of the "nuclear option" by then Majority Leader Bill Frist that was averted by the Gang of 14.

Ultimately, the most important consideration for the White House is that the nominee gets confirmed.

But the battle could pose challenges to both parties in the near term, particularly Senate Democrats running for re-election in states Trump won in 2016.

Pat Martin, the outreach and development director with the Alaska Right to Life Committee, took a similar approach but with a different view: His group would urge Murkowski to uphold her oath to defend the Constitution, he said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week "the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016 not to consider a Supreme Court nominee in an election year", and that failing to follow that principle would be the "height of hypocrisy".

Several Democratic senators considering 2020 presidential runs jumped into the debate Thursday morning rallying from the steps of the Supreme Court.

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