Supreme court vacancy sparks multimillion-dollar ad war to swing votes

Charlene Craig
July 6, 2018

The source told Reuters that Amy Coney Barrett of IN, a judge on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was still IN contention but that the Republican president had been asking more questions about the other two, who have more extensive judicial records. Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a friend and ally of the Utah senator, wrote an op-ed for Fox News on Thursday arguing that Lee should be the pick. Mike Lee (Utah), to the Supreme Court vacancy caused by the impending resignation of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kennedy, who has served on the Supreme Court since 1988, has always been recognized as the institution's lone swing vote preventing either the conservative or liberal factions from becoming ascendant. Recognizing the stakes, many Democrats have lined up in opposition to any Trump pick, and Republicans lawmakers and activists are seeking to shape the president's decision.

President Trump has spent most of this week interviewing candidates for the SCOTUS nomination.

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Another aide told Axios that while his official announcement is scheduled for Monday, they wouldn't be surprised if Trump went ahead and announced his nominee a few days earlier. There were the four interviews Monday, as well as a conversation with Republican Sen.

But Trump, he said, has "lucked out" with Lee. Before joining the bench, she was a professor at Notre Dame Law School, her alma mater, and two decades ago, clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

With the prospect of an emboldened conservative majority, the first since the New Deal era, on the nation's highest court, Cruz warned the president against repeating the mistakes his predecessors have made in nominating justices to the Court.

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The other judge in serious contention, the Seventh Circuit's Amy Coney Barrett, is a favorite of social conservatives, but according to a person close to the president, Trump thinks Kavanaugh has served long enough as a judge to give a sense of his position on issues. That list included two contenders from Alabama - Justices Kevin Newsom and William "Bill" Pryor of Alabama, both with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11 Circuit.

"The way we're looking at it is this: If we do a good enough job, we'll make it obvious enough that Collins or Murkowski will be the deciding vote on whether Roe v. Wade is overturned", one Democratic aide tells TIME, referring to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case on abortion.

Kavanaugh, 53, was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2006 by President George W. Bush, for whom he previously worked in the White House. "The American people since Trump became president have gone to airports to protect immigrants, they've marched for women's rights". "You know, if you look back at Republican nominations to the court, Democrats have batted nearly 1000".

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