Trump meeting focuses on Supreme Court candidates Kavanaugh, Hardiman: report

Trump meeting focuses on Supreme Court candidates Kavanaugh, Hardiman: report
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE spent Monday morning seeking input on Brett Kavanaugh and Thomas Hardiman as potential Supreme Court nominees to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, The New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

The calls signal that Trump has narrowed his list of potential candidates to two finalists, but has not yet settled on a nominee with just hours to go until a scheduled 9 p.m. Eastern announcement from the East Room of the White House.

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Kavanaugh, 53, is a former Kennedy law clerk who was appointed to the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals by former President George W. Bush after serving five years in the White House counsel’s office during the Bush administration. The New York Times reported he’s a favorite of White House counsel Don McGahn, who’s leading the search for Trump’s nominee.

Hardiman, who turned 53 on Sunday, is a judge on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals and was the runner-up to Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Trump’s sister Judge Maryanne Trump Barry also sits on the 3rd Circuit and reportedly backed Hardiman for the seat Gorsuch eventually filled.

Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor who was confirmed to the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in October, and Raymond Kethledge, another former Kennedy clerk who sits on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, have also emerged as top candidates for the nomination, but the Times reported they were not the focus of Trump’s discussions on Monday morning.