On the latter point, Leonard Leo, an executive with the conservative Federalist Society who is advising Trump on his second high court pick, broke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
President Donald Trump's top contenders for the vacancy appear to be federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge. The White House hopes Kyl's close ties to Senate Republicans will help smooth the path for confirmation. "I don't think my role is a rubber stamp for the President, but it's also not an automatic, knee-jerk no either", Jones said.
But much like his entire presidency, there are no assurances it will go smoothly.
Now, mindful that moderate Maine GOP Sen. "This is a nightmare for red-state Democrats, to oppose a highly qualified nominee and all four of these people are highly qualified", he added.
"I've never seen it this dysfunctional".
But it is Kavanaugh who has been the focus of much of the lobbying, both for and against him.
Meanwhile, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network said it will launch a $1.4 million ad buy in four states - Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia - introducing the nominee in a favorable light. "Those questions haven't been asked".
Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal judge last fall - excited social conservatives since she was questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings a year ago, but her brief time on the bench has raised questions about her experience.
Trump's short list continued to vacillate in the hours leading up to tonight's prime-time finale, where his choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy will be revealed.
Even if Republicans lose one or two votes, they will likely still be able to confirm the nominee - who is expected to be announced Monday evening - with the support of several Democrats up for re-election in November in states where Trump is overwhelmingly popular. More recently, she's written that abiding by precedent is "not a hard-and-fast rule" in the Supreme Court's constitutional cases.
Trump is set to announce his pick at 9 p.m. on Monday during a live television broadcast from the White House.
Hardiman is a "late addition" to Trump's final four, per the New York Times, but he was the runner-up to Justice Neil Gorsuch past year. That announcement had all the drama of a reality television show, and Trump, the former "Apprentice" host and executive producer, is expected to oversee the same kind of made-for-television event Monday night.
The White House has assembled a team to handle communications, strategy and messaging coordination to defend and push the nomination through on Capitol Hill.
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