What to know about Trump's Supreme Court pick so far

What to know about Trump's Supreme Court pick so far
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As President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE finalizes his top pick to nominate to the Supreme Court, anticipation is building for who he could tap to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy — and who could ultimately reshape the high court for decades.

Trump is expected to announce his nominee Monday night, choosing from a previously released list of possible nominees.

The president told reporters Thursday that he’s narrowed the list down to three or four names — those final nominees are believed to be Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett, a source familiar with the matter told The Hill.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Trump is also considering Thomas Hardiman for the spot, though he had not yet made a final decision as of Saturday afternoon.


This is what we know so far about Trump’s possible pick:

Kavanaugh’s experience could pose issues

The Times reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns MORE (R-Ky.) — without explicitly naming his own preference — has pushed Trump toward selecting Kethledge or Hardiman, saying the two men are the most likely to be confirmed by the Senate.

The top Republican reportedly raised concerns about the number of documents Kavanaugh has produced in his career as judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and in previous posts, telling Trump that Democrats could delay a confirmation until after the midterm elections by seizing on what are reportedly more than a million pages of documents.

The Times also reported that the president was concerned about Kavanaugh's time as White House staff secretary to former President George W. Bush, whose family Trump has been wary of.

However, the judge hasn't been ruled out entirely — The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump was leaning toward Kavanaugh as a nominee.

A woman nominee could help the confirmation process

Only one woman reportedly remains on Trump's shortlist: Barrett, a circuit court judge.

The Times reported that Trump is interested in the potential political benefits of nominating a woman for the job.

At 46, her age will allow her to influence the court for decades. Barrett, a deeply religious, staunch conservative, could also appear less extreme on women's rights and health care because of her gender. 

McConnell, according to the Times, has guided Trump away from Barrett over fears he can't guarantee the support of GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate Sarah Palin says she's praying about running for Senate against Murkowski Graham says he has COVID-19 'breakthrough' infection MORE (Alaska), who are expected to play a pivotal role in the nominee's confirmation. Some conservatives have pointed to Barrett as their chance to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision which legalized abortion nationwide — but which likely could cost the votes of the female senators.

Barrett did appear to get a boost from at least one prominent Republican. Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDrug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 Financial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted MORE (R-Utah) wrote a Friday op-ed on Trump's upcoming Supreme Court pick, using only female pronouns in the piece.

Hardiman could get a second chance

While Hardiman was not initially included in some versions of the president’s shortlist, the Journal reported that Trump called the judge twice over the past week — meaning he hasn't been entirely ruled out.

The judge has served on the federal appeals court in Philadelphia with Trump's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who reportedly advocated for Hardiman last year. 

And McConnell allegedly told Trump that the conservative would face a relatively easy confirmation in the Senate, which could give Hardiman an edge in the president's decisionmaking process.  

Falling short of the nomination wouldn't be an unfamiliar scenario for Hardiman: Trump reportedly was close to selecting him last year for the role when he was floating potential nominees to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump ultimately tapped now-Justice Neil Gorsuch for the job.