WASHINGTON, DC (CBS News) – President Donald Trump has begun interviewing possible nominees for the Supreme Court seat that will become open when Justice Anthony Kennedy retires at the end of the month.
Trump will spend this week’s holiday in Bedminster, New Jersey, but he says he will announce his Supreme Court justice nominee after the 4th of July, according to CBS2’s Dick Brennan.
On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that he had “interviewed 4 very impressive people” on Monday.
As the president weighs his choice, moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she was not comfortable with everyone he has considered.
“I would not support a nominee who would demonstrate hostility to Roe v. Wade,” she said.
Sources say Collins specifically opposes federal Appeals Court Judge William Pryor, who once called Roe “an abomination.” Pryor was a top finalist to replace Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat last year, but sources say Pryor has been eliminated this time around.
Sources say two leading contenders are D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Chicago Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Kavanaugh has the elite credentials the president wants and is a favorite of the conservative legal establishment. At his confirmation hearing in 2006 to the prestigious D.C. Circuit, he said as an appellate judge, he considered Roe settled law.
Barrett is a favorite of the grass roots and would do the most to fire up the base. At her appeals court confirmation hearing last year, Democrats focused on her Catholic faith to suggest she would overturn Roe v. Wade. That backfired on Democrats amid allegations of anti-religious bias, and Barrett was narrowly confirmed, garnering three Democratic votes.
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