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Former senator to guide nominee through Senate

Former senator to guide nominee through Senate

Judicial experts say Trump seems to be focusing on three contenders - federal judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett. And she recently made it through the confirmation process, with the Senate approving her nomination to be an appeals court judge in October.

"The president was very impressed with Barrett but said on a number of occasions it might be best to save her for a future vacancy", the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He was succeeded by Republican Jeff Flake in 2012 and is now senior counsel at Covington & Burling, the powerhouse bipartisan law and lobbying firm that boasts not just Kyl but also the likes of former Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California and former Attorney General Eric Holder. He also worked on independent counsel Ken Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton. Trump plans to reveal his choice Monday night from the White House.

Trump has spent the weekend discussing his options with allies and will announce his pick at 9 p.m. EDT Monday from the White House.

Democrats are certain to press Trump's latest nominee on the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, a decision some conservatives - particularly conservative Christians - have long wanted to overturn.

But Trump appointed Barrett to the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit just nine months ago, and he may well leave her to gain more experience.

Every Republican voted past year to confirm Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, who filled the vacancy left on the court by the late Antonin Scalia.

Trump's selection will set up a confirmation showdown in the U.S. Senate, where his fellow Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority, though with ailing Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona they now can muster only 50 votes. Susan Collins, who declined the invitation. Three Democratic senators who voted for Gorsuch - Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Joe Manchin of West Virginia - are up for re-election IN states Trump won handily IN 2016. Feinstein is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

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Then McConnell and other Republicans reminded Trump of another political goal: the confirmation path of least resistance.

The nominee is expected to meet in coming days with senators at their offices, going door-to-door in get-to-know-you sessions ahead of confirmation hearings. The two have supported access to abortion services.

One Democrat up for re-election, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, announced Monday he would oppose any nominee from Trump's list of 25 possible candidates, drafted by conservative groups. "Any judge on this list is fruit of a corrupt process straight from the D.C. swamp".

Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh - a longtime judge and former clerk for Justice Kennedy - questioning his commitment to social issues like abortion and noting his time serving under President George W. Bush as evidence he is a more establishment choice.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while not arguing against Kavanaugh on the merits, has spoken to the White House about the volume of material from the judge's career that would need to be pored through, potentially bogging down the confirmation, according to people familiar with the process.

But his supporters cite his experience and wide range of legal opinions.


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