After winning confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch past year, Trump has teased his latest options for days, after narrowing down his list of prospects to four federal appeals-court judges: Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman.
President Donald Trump has decided on his Supreme Court nominee, a person with knowledge of the situation revealed today, hours before a prime-time TV announcement that will ignite a fierce confirmation battle.
Ahead of his announcement, Trump tweeted about the stakes: "I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice - Will be announced tonight at 9:00 P.M". As an attorney, Kavanaugh worked for the special counsel investigating former President Bill Clinton, who was eventually impeached, and also worked for the Bush campaign during the 2000 presidential election recount.
And Democrats can not even be sure of holding their line against Trump's pick.
Given GOP control of the Senate and the chamber's Republican leader Mitch McConnell's abolition of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations during the Gorsuch confirmation saga, any of the four is expected to have a strong chance of confirmation.
Attorney Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, who is advising Trump on the process, said Blumenthal's remarks were "insulting and offensive".
While the U.S. Senate once required a 60-vote supermajority to overcome blocking tactics against Supreme Court nominees, the Republican majority changed the rules a year ago during the debate on Justice Neil Gorsuch. He was nominated by President George W. Bush to the 6th Circuit.
Presidents weigh all sorts of considerations in deciding on a Supreme Court nominee, often beginning with the big question: Will the choice be confirmed by the Senate?More news: Trump's former personal lawyer says his 'silence is broken'
"I am concerned that he's making it like a game show", Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy told NPR radio.
Kethledge, 51, is a University of Michigan Law School graduate and former Kennedy law clerk who works out of an office he set up in an old barn overlooking Lake Huron in northern Michigan. In recent days, he expressed renewed interest in Hardiman, the runner-up when Trump nominated Gorsuch, said two people with knowledge of his thinking.
Hardiman, 53, a judge on the federal court in Philadelphia, is less known in terms of his legal philosophy, but has working-class roots that could make him attractive to the American public.
Alabama, before Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore, had not voted for a Democrat to the Senate since the early 1990s. He recently voiced disagreement with a court decision allowing an undocumented teenage immigrant to get an abortion.
The Democratic senator is up for re-election this year in a state Trump won in 2016.
On the flip side, if the Republicans suggest they will approve of the nominee, it's hard to see how the nomination fails - and it gives the Democrats even more cover to buck their party and also support Trump's pick.
As others speculated about his nomination to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump had little to say about his choice, who could cement a conservative majority on the court for years to come.
"This is a nightmare for red state Democrats to oppose a highly qualified nominee - and all these candidates are highly qualified", Lindsey Graham, the senator from SC, told Fox News Sunday. I'm open to voting no. "I don't think my role is to rubber-stamp for the president, but it's also not an automatic knee-jerk no, either".