President Trump has completed the process of interviewing candidates for Supreme Court position after speaking with six judges, Fox News informed, citing a source with knowledge of the selection process.
The President and his vetting team have moved quickly ahead of an expected announcement on Monday.
While liberal advocacy groups and others are gearing up for a major confirmation fight, Trump is charging ahead with an imminent decision to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, and potentially move the court more solidly to the right.
Fox News is told that Trump has interviewed six candidates: Appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett, Amul Thapar, Joan Larsen and Thomas Hardiman. The interviews comprised seven conversations – Trump talked to one candidate twice.
The President also had an additional phone call with Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee, though Fox News is told the call was not a formal interview and more to ask Lee his thoughts on who would make a good nominee.
Multiple sources told Fox News that while Lee is on the President’s broader list of 25 potential candidates he has vowed to choose from, he is not currently under consideration to replace Kennedy.
An intense pressure campaign is being waged on the sidelines, by conservative and liberal interests alike.
Democrat-aligned groups are pressuring potential swing senators – especially moderate Republicans like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Susan Collins – to oppose Trump’s eventual nominee, arguing in part that landmark decisions like abortion-legalizing Roe v. Wade could be at risk. Conservative groups, meanwhile, have sought to sway the President’s decision-making – including a whisper campaign against Kavanaugh over everything from his ties to the George W. Bush administration to an ObamaCare ruling.