Trump meets with lawmakers to discuss Supreme Court vacancy


Trump said he would speak with one or two candidates, and plans to announce his selection on Monday, July 9.

In a statement, Heitkamp said she and Trump "had a solid discussion about the Supreme Court vacancy", adding that she "stressed the importance of nominating someone to the Supreme Court who is pragmatic, fair, compassionate, committed to justice, and above politics - traits that match Justice Kennedy and which I know are important to North Dakotans". Both are pro-abortion rights Republicans, and their support for Trump's eventual nominee would not be assured if either were concerned that nominee could play a role in overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion.

Democrats' best hope of blocking President Donald Trump's upcoming Supreme Court nomination just fizzled out.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of July, was considered the swing vote on the court to uphold abortion rights.

Other possible nominees being eyed include Thomas Hardiman, who serves alongside Trump's sister on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Raymond Kethledge, a federal appeals court judge who clerked for Kennedy. That list includes six women. The 53-year-old appeals court judge is a former clerk for Kennedy. But he has promised to draw the next justice from a list of 25 prospective candidates that was first established during the 2016 presidential campaign and updated last fall, with advice from conservatives.

Republicans, well aware that Democrats will try to pin down Trump's pick on contentious issues, are already making the case that any nominee should abide by the standard Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg used during her 1993 hearings: To give "no hints, no forecasts, no previews" on how they might rule. The White House said Trump's team also spoke with more than a dozen additional senators.

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"Mike Lee, he's an outstanding talent", Trump said.

"I think myself and a number of senators, at least a few of us will stand up and say, 'Let's not move any more judges until we get a vote, for example, on tariffs, '" Flake said. "I actually saw him on television last night where he said he'd love the job". Flake has already stalled some nominations by withholding his support on the committee so as to pressure Republicans to vote on Trump's controversial tariffs, which Flake and many other Republicans staunchly oppose.

The two Republicans, as well as Grassley and the three Democrats who voted in favor of Gorsuch, met with Trump Wednesday evening at the White House to discuss the vacancy, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

After blocking a circuit court nominee from Georgia earlier this month, Flake told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that he planned to block appellate court judges in exchange for a Senate vote on reining in Trump's tariff powers. After all, there aren't many legislative days left before the elections, even with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) keeping the chamber in session through the traditional August recess.

"It is exciting though, right?" said Trump. 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.