"We are close to making a decision", Trump said on July 8. But he did make his pick, according to a person who was not authorized to speak publicly and commented only on condition of anonymity.
The president is said to have narrowed the field to Raymond Kethledge, Brett Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman and Amy Barrett. The White House said Monday that former Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona would guide the nominee through the Senate confirmation process. He now works for the Washington-based lobbying firm Covington & Burling.
Relishing the suspense, Trump insisted he still hadn't locked down his decision, which he wants to keep under wraps until a 9 p.m. Monday announcement from the White House. Susan Collins said she wouldn't support a nominee hostile to the court's precedent in Roe v. Wade - and the conservative Barrett has expressed a willingness to reverse precedent she sees as wrongly decided.
"I suspect this is going to be a rough, tough, down in the dirt, ear-pulling, nose-biting fight", Kennedy said.
Savoring the suspense, Trump has sought to keep people guessing in the final hours, hoping to replicate his successful announcement of Justice Neil Gorsuch a year ago. But the situation appeared to remain fluid.
Heat advisory issued for Monday; temps remain high all week
These prolonged heat waves are tough to manage, so do keep the water handy and spend as little time in the direct sun as possible. It was sweltering at the Chicago Cubs home game against the Minnesota Twins Saturday .
Kennedy's exit has afforded Trump the opportunity to replace the frequent swing vote on the court with a reliable conservative judge and influence the judiciary for decades. He's been pushed into the spotlight in recent days, and the president reportedly likes his personal story (Hardiman was the first in his family to attend university, and drove a cab to pay his way through). Hardiman, who lives in Pennsylvania, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, where he served at one time with Trump's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry. But his supporters cite his experience and wide range of legal opinions.
They include Judge Raymond Kethledge, 51, who sits on the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, who would puncture the Ivy League aura that cloaks the Supreme Court since he studied law at the University of MI and not Harvard or Yale.
Education: Barrett received her undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis and studied law at the University of Notre Dame where she is a longtime law professor. Hardiman, 52, who was also appointed by Bush, serves on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He is an evangelical Christian whose book Lead Yourself First uses President Dwight Eisenhower, primatologist Jane Goodall, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr. and others as examples of "leaders who have used solitude to function more effectively". "On Saturday, he tweeted that a 'Big decision" was coming soon. Let's say it's the four people.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) spoke out about this concern on the air with Fox News on Sunday.
"They're good judges", Blunt said on NBC's "Meet the Press". He added: "I think they'd be fine justices of the Supreme Court". I do think the president has to think about who is the easiest to get confirmed here. "And I expect we will do that on sort of a normal timetable, a couple of months".