The Trump 25: Life on Trump's list is complex, jolting

Charlene Craig
July 9, 2018

With the deadline fast approaching, Trump has reportedly whittled his 25-name list down to a shortlist of three: appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, and Amy Coney Barrett. Pence has also spoken to Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. "President Trump and I had a solid discussion about the Supreme Court vacancy". Rand Paul, R-Ky., has told colleagues he might not vote for Kavanaugh because of the judge's role during the Bush administration on cases involving executive privilege and the disclosure of documents to Congress.

Judge Kethledge, a former law clerk to the retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, serves on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has served as a law clerk to outgoing Justice Kennedy, and to two other appellate judges. Kethledge, a Michigan Law graduate, would add academic diversity to a court steeped in the Ivy League. Kethledge, of MI, is a judge on the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Thirty years later, Tyler sought to have his right to purchase a gun, lost forever as a result having been in a mental hospital for 30 days in the 1980s, restored.

Kethledge had the option of joining one of several pro-gun opinions, including a heavily "original meaning" focused one which criticized the controlling opinion in the case for "giving little more than a nod to the originalist inquiry". If she's chosen and confirmed, it would be the first time four women would serve together on the nine-member Supreme Court.

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"Kavanaugh is not another Roberts; he's another Scalia, Alito, or Gorsuch", he wrote, referring to conservative justices.

Judging from the comments of TV pundits and news reporters, the betting seems strong that Trump will wind up choosing Judge Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge who sits on the District of Columbia circuit. Hardiman was the first in his family to attend college, at the University of Notre Dame, then helped pay for his law school education at Georgetown by driving a taxi.

And finally, Manchin is a key vote on the Democratic side that Republicans will be eager to court for Trump's nominee.

Conservative activists want Trump to replace him with a nominee who is more unwaveringly conservative.

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It's why the pro-life views of Barrett, a devout Catholic and mother of seven, have loomed large in the debate.

Barrett's profile rose rapidly a year ago with conservative groups after her confirmation hearing featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions. It's a notion she has rejected and many on the right say should not be used as a religious test.

If Lee is confirmed, he would join the rare rankings of American Supreme Court justices who are better known for their careers in non-judicial and elected offices. The Kennedy nomination likely means that his replacement's confirmation process will take priority over other pending matters, so it's likely we'll see confirmation hearings begin sometime after that. He plans to interview two or three potential candidates. Liberals had a miserable time using their exhausted playbook of attacks against Barrett's last confirmation because she has a compelling and compassionate life story.

The way just a handful of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate decide to vote could tip the balance of any potential nominee. In addition, her opponents have already revealed their strategies to stop her nomination.

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That list included two contenders from Alabama - Justices Kevin Newsom and William "Bill" Pryor of Alabama, both with the U.S. 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.

In his op-ed, Cruz said most presidents are forced to gamble on a Supreme Court nominee that they do not truly know, someone who has spent a lifetime outside the public eye and who might bend to pressure in Washington once on the high court.

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