Sen. Leahy Waits To See Who Trump Nominates For Supreme Court Slot

These two judges are favorites to win Supreme Court nod

After days of frenzied lobbying and speculation, President Donald Trump decided on his second nominee to the Supreme Court on Monday, setting up a ferocious confirmation battle with Democrats as he seeks to shift the nation's highest court further to the right.

While Trump didn't name the four, top contenders for the role have included federal appeals judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman.

A senior White House official said Trump made his final decision on the nomination Sunday evening, then phoned Kavanaugh to inform him.

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 ad is expected to feature an introductory bio on the president's yet-to-be-named Supreme Court nominee.

White House Principal Press Secretary, Raj Shah, tweeted out the following statement regarding Casey's opposition.

"The conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you". Hardiman was the first person in his family to attend college, and he helped pay for his Georgetown University law degree by driving a taxi.

J.J. McCullough of National Review argues that a "more rightward Supreme Court will yield many good things, yet political enthusiasm for outcomes should not supersede all other concerns". "Maybe a handful of Democrats will vote for a Trump pick because they have to politically". As CNN previously reported, McConnell has consulted with Trump and his team daily on strategy and Senate math for the possible picks.

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Kethledge, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, is a former Kennedy clerk and a former in-house lawyer at Ford Motor Co. Barrett is popular with social conservatives, but her prospects for being nominated to the post are fading, according to The Wall Street Journal.

MARTIN: Is there any way to discern how much President Trump is weighing the idea of confirmability in his process?

With the Senate's Republican leadership saying it aims to complete the confirmation process before November's midterm elections, Democrats were nearing panic mode.

Outside adviser Leonard Leo, now on leave from the Federalist Society, said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that this kind of jockeying is standard, noting that "every potential nominee before announcement gets concerns expressed about them by people who might ultimately support them".

"This list is the bidding of corporate special interests hell-bent on handing health care over to insurance companies, crushing unions that represent working men and women, and promoting policies that will leave the middle-class further behind", said Casey. He's written 286 opinions, which is the most of any current judge under consideration. He said Sunday on CNN that he is "concerned about this nomination" but cautioned that it was too early to say how he planned to vote.

Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama has replaced Republican Sen. Hardiman, meanwhile, served with Trump's sister on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia.

Hirono's comments come in contrast to what other Senate Democrats have said of the nominee.

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