Trump's shortlist for the Supreme Court nomination is thought to include conservative federal appeals judges Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge, among others. Mr. Pence hasn't met with any of the other candidates, according to a White House official.
Manchin said in a statement he would meet with and evaluate Trump's nominee, adding that he is open to backing the right selection. And for the optics-obsessed president, the timely judicial fight offers him the opportunity to do what he does best - take center stage in a massive show. He's also said to be upset about Kavanaugh's opinion in the Obamacare mandate litigation.
Partisan rancor has flamed since Kennedy announced last week that he would be retiring after more than three decades on the Supreme Court. "Republicans have run roughshod over traditions to get these Federalist Society nominees approved, and we're making sure that we communicate just how unprecedented this list is - to have specific litmus tests for Supreme Court justices".
But Trump's final decision on a replacement for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy remained fluid as he traveled Thursday to a political rally in Montana before heading to his golf course in New Jersey for the weekend, with the president pinballing between associates as he sought feedback and suggestions. "And I'm glad you asked that question because it's been a lot of misunderstanding".
Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sided with the court's liberals on divisive social issues such as gay rights and abortion, was a key figure on the nine-justice court. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, another GOP moderate. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told Coney Barrett a year ago during her confirmation hearing in an exchange about the judge's Catholic faith - a comment that was roundly criticized by religious leaders. That, plus his time as a White House staff secretary under President George W. Bush, and his time helping Ken Starr investigate President Bill Clinton, may mean Kavanaugh is passed over.
When will we know for sure?
But, there are plenty of pro-life advocates who see this as a misguided attempt for Democrats and pro-choice Republicans.
Hatch, who has sat through the confirmation hearings for all nine current Supreme Court justices, predicted Democrats will initiate "confirmation wars" in the coming months because Trump is unlikely to nominate an activist judge who will protect the progressive agenda. Trump finally nominated judge Neil Gorsuch.
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