Trump's Supreme Court Shortlist Narrows To 3 Finalists

Report Sen. Mike Lee no longer in serious consideration for the Supreme Court opening

Now that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, concern looms over who President Donald Trump will nominate to replace him.

Another person familiar with the process said Friday the White House was focusing on Kavanaugh, Barrett, Kethledge and Thapar, as well as Thomas Hardiman, another appeals court judge.

Cruz is also actively lobbying against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, one of the frontrunners to replace Kennedy on the bench.

Kethledge, 51, is another former Kennedy clerk. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., when the Senate Judiciary Committee considered her nomination to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. A graduate of University of Michigan Law School, he clerked for Kennedy in the late 1990s and advised Republican Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.) and has written several notable opinions blasting President Barack Obama's IRS and Labor Department.

Despite her questionable views expressed in the 1998 paper, Barrett was confirmed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago after assuring senators that her views have expanded over the years. Trump past year appointed conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to take a seat that the Republican-led U.S. Senate, which must confirm nominees to the high court, had prevented Democratic former President Barack Obama from filling in 2016 following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

"I tend to agree with those who say that a justice's duty is to the Constitution and that it is thus more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it", Barrett wrote in 2013. Additionally, three Democrats - including Donnelly and Manchin - supported Barrett when Trump nominated her to the bench past year.

In recent days, Kavanaugh has faced criticism from some conservatives who are concerned by his previous rulings on the Affordable Care Act and his ties to the Bush White House ― an administration Trump has often derided.

And in endorsing judicial recusal, they cite a law review article urging the same result for an anti-abortion judge who is compelled by precedent - and the status of being a lower-court judge - to uphold that right. The Justice Department last month threw its support behind a lawsuit arguing that Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions are unconstitutional. Mike Lee, R-Utah - and openly lobbying against another one of Trump's top contenders.

Kethledge's record shows that in his case, the answer is a resounding yes. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is another Republican who has supported abortion.

Trump's shortlist, meanwhile, is narrowing, but the search process remains fluid, according to a White House aide and three Trump associates familiar with the discussions who spoke with The Washington Post on Thursday.

Judge Raymond Kethledge poses for an undated photo. Just about every nominee they've put up there has voted the way they wanted on just about every single issue.

"I think she's an excellent candidate", Paul says.

That would be someone like Marty Walsh, of Glendale, Mo., who came to the McCaskill event and describes himself as "pro-life" - a former seminary student who studied the Roman Catholic viewpoint on the issue.

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