Supreme Court vacancies have become a key voting issue in the US presidential election.
WASHINGTON-President Donald Trump said on Friday that he planned to interview one or two candidates to fill Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's seat this weekend at his Bedminster, N.J., resort, and plans to announce his final pick on July 9.
Ninety percent of Democrats said the vacancy would make them more likely to vote for a Democratic Senate candidate in the November 6 election, compared with 81 percent of Republicans who said the issue would make them more likely to vote for a Senate candidate from their party.
Republicans changed Senate rules previous year to get Trump's conservative nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed, lowering the threshold to advance Supreme Court nominations to a simple majority vote.
Brett Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old US Circuit judge, is widely reported to be the front-runner.
"I'm very proud of Neil Gorsuch", Trump continued. Mike Lee, R-Utah, indicating that Lee was pining for the nomination.
White House Counsel Don McGahn will be Trump's lead adviser on the pick, having successfully guided the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch through the selection and confirmation process a year ago, White House sources said. "I actually saw him on television last night, where he said he would love the job".More news: Wimbledon: Serena Williams named 25th seed
Among Trump's counselors is Leonard Leo, who is taking a leave of absence as executive vice president of the Federalist Society to serve as an outside adviser in the selection process. You know, ICE, these are the guys that go in and take MS-13 and take them out because they are much tougher than MS-13, like by a factor of 10.and these are the ones. He said the president was pleased with the game plan that put Gorsuch on the bench, which involved a network of White House aides, congressional allies and outside advocates. Trump welcomed Republicans Chuck Grassley, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Democrats Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp as part of the effort.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told a GOP gathering in Kentucky that the goal is to wrap up the confirmation in time for the nominee to join the court at the start of its next term in October.
"We'd be very happy if he'd pick any name on that list", said Severino. "The most important issue of this election is the Supreme Court", Franklin Graham repeatedly reminded audiences.
"I hope they keep thinking about it because they're going to get beaten so badly".
Leo said Trump was "committed to a full-throttle process" that includes meeting with several top contenders. The Senate votes to confirm or deny judicial candidates for federal courts, including Supreme Court nominees.
With a little over a week before his big announcement, Trump is relishing the moment. "From day one, I've heard, outside of war and peace of course, the most important decision you make is the selection of a Supreme Court judge - if you get it".