Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Health Care | By Belinda Paul

GOP ex-Sen. Jon Kyl will be the 'Sherpa' for SCOTUS nominee

GOP ex-Sen. Jon Kyl will be the 'Sherpa' for SCOTUS nominee

The candidates on Trump's shortlist are Brett Kavanaugh, a former adviser to George W. Bush, Raymond Kethledge, a strict interpreter of the US Constitution, Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic and social conservative, and Thomas Hardiman, a staunch gun rights advocate.

President Donald Trump has narrowed his choice down to four candidates ahead of Monday's nomination announcement - his second U.S. Supreme Court justice pick less than two years into his presidency.

Trump had said he hoped to make his decision by the time he returned Sunday from a weekend in New Jersey, but he told reporters en route to the White House that he needed more time.

Gorsuch restored the court's conservative majority. But he had made his final decision, according to a person with knowledge of the president's thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly. But there's one qualification that could prove a problem for the judge: his ties to the Bush family have reportedly raised Trump's suspicions.

Even if all 49 members of the Democratic caucus united to oppose the nominee they would still need at least one Republican to join them to block the nomination.

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. He recently voiced disagreement with a court decision allowing an undocumented teenage immigrant to get an abortion.

"I'm very close to making a decision", Trump said. Without Republican defections, however, Senate rules leave Democrats with scant options to block confirmation of Trump's nominee.

Trump is said to have particularly liked Hardiman's life story. If Mr. McCain is not able to vote, only one Republican would have to defect to derail the confirmation, assuming the Democrats maintain ideal party discpline. For example, on the campaign trail, Trump promised his base that if he was elected he would appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

In anticipation of Trump filling the vacancy left by the retiring Anthony Kennedy - widely considered to be the court's "swing vote" - with a judge thought to have more conservative bona fides, many outside advocacy groups are already bracing for what will likely be a contentious confirmation battle. The new justice has the potential to entrench conservative control of the Supreme Court for years to come. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal appeals judge last fall - excited social conservatives with her testimony when questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings past year. "It's important to have people who are extremely well known and have distinguished records".

"I don't think anyone should expect me to simply vote yes for this nominee just simply because my state may be more conservative than others", Mr. Jones said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union". "I don't think my role is to rubber stamp for the president, but it's also not an automatic knee-jerk no, either".

While the president has been pondering his choice, his aides have been preparing for what is expected to be a tough confirmation fight.

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