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United States

Trump meets with potential US Supreme Court nominees, two in particular

The president is said to be most interested in two federal appellate judges, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 4:47am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 4:48am

US President Donald Trump said he met with four potential nominees for Supreme Court justice on Monday morning, while a person familiar with the selection process said Trump was focused most keenly on two people though others remained in contention.

Trump told reporters at the White House that he would meet with two or three more candidates and decide on a nominee in the next few days. He was expected to name his choice in a week for a successor to the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

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With a second Supreme Court pick less than 18 months into his presidency, Trump is poised to cement conservative control of the court and fire up supporters eager for a rightward shift on divisive social issues like abortion and gay rights.

Trump’s nominee must win confirmation by the Senate. Republicans control the chamber but only by a slim majority, making the views of moderates, including some Democrats, important.

Federal appellate court judges Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett have gained the most interest from Trump and his team since Kennedy announced his retirement last week, said the person familiar with the process.

“There is keen interest in those two, but there are at least a couple of others who are still very seriously in the mix,” this person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authorisation to speak publicly on the subject, said.

Kavanaugh is a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Barrett was named by Trump to the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Illinois.

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The other top potential nominees are said to be Thomas Hardiman, who serves on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Raymond Kethledge of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Amul Thapar, whom Trump named an appellate court judge, also for the Sixth Circuit.

White House Counsel Don McGahn will oversee Trump’s selection process, the White House said on Monday.

McGahn played the same role for the process that led to Trump’s selection of Neil Gorsuch, who has quickly become one of the most conservative justices on the court.

“Teams of attorneys from the White House Counsel’s Office and Department of Justice are working to ensure the president has all the information he needs to choose his nominee,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.