Trump closes in on Supreme Court pick; 3 judges top list

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Donald Trump is searching for an "all-American" with a "central casting image" to be his Supreme Court nominee as he adopts an Apprentice-style approach to the task. "When I reported the loss to the airline agent, he asked, 'Has your flight arrived?' 'No, ' I replied, 'I am a mere shadow of my existential self!'" He certainly cast a broad shadow over the U.S. Supreme Court and its decisions during his three decades on the bench.

"These are very talented people, brilliant people", Trump said Tuesday during an appearance in West Virginia. "They're good judges. I think they'd be fine justices of the Supreme Court". But he did make his pick, according to a person who was not authorized to speak publicly and commented only on condition of anonymity.

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.

Asked about the selection process, Trump said, "I think they're all outstanding. I doubt it. Unlikely".

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Sunday in an ABC interview that she has ruled out multiple candidates on the list released by the White House last fall.

Trump appears to have narrowed his search to a select group of U.S. 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. He is supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "We'll announce it on Monday". The White House confirmed the call but did not disclose what they discussed.

The jockeying has served as a preview of things to come once a nominee is announced.

The 53-year-old judge, who sits on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has the best credentials as well as some big risks, according to conservatives eagerly awaiting Trump's decision.

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Kavanaugh, Kethledge and Barrett met with Trump on July 2 at the White House.

For some Senate lawmakers, however, Kavanaugh's demurral on the abortion law could help him win their votes for confirmation.

President Donald Trump isn't the only administration official meeting with potential nominees for the Supreme Court. It's an open question whether any of it will actually influence his decision. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. This was his guiding principle on the Supreme Court, and why his retirement is so consequential.

Perhaps the most compelling background would be Kentucky-based Thapar, 49, the son of Indian immigrants (he would be the first Asian-American justice), and Amy Coney Barrett, 46, a former Notre Dame law professor and mother of seven.

Trump conducted interviews Monday and Tuesday. An avid fisherman and hunter, he is known in part for his vivid writing style, which he practices from a remote cabin near Lake Huron that lacks Internet access.

Trump's choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, often a swing vote among the nine justices, has the potential to remake the high court for a generation. His departure will leave a hole in the middle of the court that Republicans are eager to fill with a more reliable conservative.

Trump said he expects the coming confirmation process will be "very vicious", blaming Democrats for, in his words, being interested only in blocking his agenda and nominees. Although the statement is undoubtedly accurate, it is likely to be seized on by supporters of abortion rights as they try to convince moderate Republican senators that Barrett might vote to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision declaring a woman's constitutional right to abortion.

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