Pence met with several Supreme Court hopefuls: report

Pence met with several Supreme Court hopefuls: report
© Greg Nash

Vice President Pence has met in recent days with a number of candidates for the looming Supreme Court vacancy, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The AP cited a person familiar with the search process to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The person did not say which candidates Pence spoke with, or how many candidates the vice president visited.

The vice president's discussions appeared to coincide with President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE's meetings with at least seven possible nominees in recent days.

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Trump met Tuesday with three potential Supreme Court nominees, the White House said. The president met Monday with four candidates.

The White House has confirmed that Trump spoke with Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeEx-Virginia GOP Senate candidate shares offensive voicemail allegedly left by Charlottesville rally organizer Facebook cracks down on 3D guns Exclusive: Bannon blasts 'con artist' Kochs, 'lame duck' Ryan, 'diminished' Kelly MORE (R-Utah) about the Supreme Court, but has declined to identify any others. Lee is not believed to be on Trump's short-list for the position.

The front-runners for Trump's pick are considered to be federal appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, though others are in the mix.

Trump said he plans to reveal his choice to replace Kennedy on July 9.

Kennedy announced he will retire effective July 31. His departure provides Trump with the opportunity to nominate a second justice to the Supreme Court after the successful confirmation in 2017 of Neil Gorsuch.

The battle over Kennedy is seen on the left as pivotal one on the future of abortion rights in the United States.