In Supreme Court pick, Trump can push conservative social agenda

President-elect Trump's acceptance speech was broadcast in Times Square in New York City after his 2016 election. Nearly two years later the partisan divide grows even wider

Among the candidates he's considering are two women, and he told reporters that he might meet with candidates over a golf weekend.

Asked about Murkowski's vote to confirm Gorsuch in 2017, Cler said she hopes that Murkowski will take a different approach, "given the stakes of what we're facing and the fact that we're facing the reality that the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn the constitutional right to abortion", she said.

They include judges Amy Coney Barrett, 46, the most talked-about woman on the list; Thomas Hardiman, 52, the runner-up to Gorsuch previous year; Raymond Kethledge, 51, another former Kennedy clerk; and Amul Thapar, 49, a favorite of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Trump asked Manchin. "I said Mr. President, that's your choice".

That spring, McConnell repeatedly cited a nonexistent Senate "tradition" of not considering Supreme Court nominees during a president's previous year in office. So long as Republican senators stick together, Trump's nominee will be confirmed. "It will change the ways in which justices think about cases, and about building coalitions, and about what majorities might look like", he said.

The president originally said he was considering a list of 25 candidates.

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As a candidate, Trump sought to win over social conservatives by emphasizing the role of the Federalist Society in judicial nominations.

A flashpoint in the court debate will be abortion rights, which puts a spotlight on key female Republican senators - Susan Collins, of ME, and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska.

Yet he is also seen as someone who cares deeply for the court's institutional reputation, and someone who would like to avoid rulings that make the Supreme Court appear to be just another partisan actor, with Republican-appointed justices voting in one direction and liberal justices unanimously on the other side on a politically charged issue.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday it would be the "height of hypocrisy" to vote before this year's election on Trump's nominee.

Senators who will vote on the nominee will also be consulted, aides said.

The president has said he will not be asking possible nominees, whom he has already started interviewing, whether they would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Other prominent names who could be considered include Judges Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump named to the federal appeals court in Chicago; Raymond Kethledge, a former Kennedy law clerk who serves on the appeals court based in Cincinnati; and Amul Thapar, who is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and whom Trump nominated to the Cincinnati-based appeals court.

"The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice".

"You see this over and over again and it's the usual rank speculation", Leo said.

"There is no doubt that the President's nominee to succeed Justice Kennedy can expect exacting scrutiny from the Senate and that is the standard I will apply in evaluating the nominee", she said.

An open seat on the Supreme Court was an important factor in rallying conservatives behind Trump's presidential election campaign in 2016.

He met Thursday with key Republican and Democratic senators at the White House in the evening to discuss the vacancy. The three face re-election in November in states that Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.

"He has been a crucial vote in landmark reproductive rights cases", Northup said.

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