Amul Thapar Reportedly Off Trump's Shortlist for Supreme Court Justice Nominees

Vice President Mike Pence would serve as the tiebreaker if the votes are split.

Trump appears to have narrowed his search to a select group of USA appeals court judges, including top contenders Brett Kavanaugh of the District of Columbia Circuit, Raymond Kethledge of the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit and Amy Coney Barrett of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit.

"I think we can do it for anyone he nominates Monday".

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, advocated for Lee in a Fox News op-ed, warning Trump not to repeat "mistakes" of past Republican presidents by picking a Supreme Court nominee who turns out to be insufficiently conservative.

President Trump is expected to announce his nominee in a prime-time ceremony Monday night. He could still consider others in the mix.

Brett Kavanaugh, 53, now serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. He has two Yale degrees and first rose to prominence for his involvement in the investigation led by Ken Starr into then-President Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

But despite the activity focused on the confirmation fight, Trump was still soliciting the views of aides and advisers Friday. All he has to do is make up his mind.

Thapar, who was confirmed a year ago to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, has been on Trump's list of nominees, created shortly after he was elected in 2016.

Kavanaugh, who watched up close the judicial selection process as a top aide to George W. Bush before his 2006 appointment to the District of Columbia Circuit, has spoken widely about a theory of judging that minimizes personality.

The president also spoke by phone with Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, about the process.

"Last year, I was proud to appoint Justice Kennedy's former law clerk, Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court", Trump said.

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Kennedy's departure has opened the door for Trump to nominate a more conservative justice, sparking fear among liberals about the future of rulings such as Roe v. Wade.

"The faithful application of the Constitution is the bedrock of our freedom, the foundation of our society and the linchpin of our government", Trump noted.

Conservatives and some libertarian-leaning Republicans, including Sen. Paul and Cruz are supporting fellow Sen.

As Trump decides on a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, the White House team will naturally be considering what attributes to emphasize in that successor.

Trump's choice to replace Kennedy - a swing vote on the nine-member court - has the potential to remake the court for a generation as part of precedent-shattering decisions on abortion, health care, gay marriage and other issues.

To counter that, Kavanaugh's allies have begun pushing back, reaching out to influential Republicans to ward off potential criticisms, according to one conservative who was the recipient of such outreach and spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday to discuss the situation.

In The Washington Post, Gonzales pushed back against the criticism of Kavanaugh's past decisions, as well as the suggestion that his time in Bush's administration as staff secretary in the executive office marks him as an "establishment" Republican. Both Kethledge and Gorsuch once served Kennedy as law clerks, as did Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh, 53, who graduated from Yale University and law school, is the only Ivy Leaguer on the shortlist at this point, and Trump has made plain he likes to tout elite credentials.

During the confirmation process, Senate Democrats questioned Barrett about her Catholicism and past writings in which she said Catholic judges were in a "legal bind" in cases related to abortion and the death penalty. All of them serve on U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Hardiman was a runner-up for the vacancy ultimately filled by Gorsuch.

  • Sonia Alvarado