President Donald Trump has been meeting with potential nominees to identify a replacement for exiting Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his intentions to retire last month and will officially step down on July 31. Kennedy is known as a swing vote, giving Trump the ability to reshape the court with his next pick.
On Monday, Trump spoke with four federal appeals court judges, according to a report by the Daily Mail, including one woman and one Indian-American.
Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, and Amul Thapar are all said to be in contention.
He also spoke with Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, about the position on Monday.
In a statement, Raj Shah, a White House spokesperson, said that Trump met with three additional potential Supreme Court nominees on Tuesday, one of which may be a woman, as he was expected to speak with 6th Circuit Court Justice Joan Larsen as early as today.
Trump is reportedly working off of a list, featuring 25 potential nominees, to narrow down his next Supreme Court Justice pick. All of those under consideration have strong conservative judicial records.
Democrats have already expressed concerns over some of the potential nominees as well as the speed at which Trump is trying to move the process forward.
They claim that Coney Barrett, who is considered a deeply religious Catholic, would overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Kavanaugh was a prosecutor under Kenneth Star, the independent counsel who investigated then-President Bill Clinton, and once clerked for Kennedy.
Kethledge, another former clerk for Kennedy, has been supportive of some conservative activists.
Thapar is best known for a criminal case involving the prosecution of three Christian protestors that resulted in an 84-year-old nun being jailed for 35 months on charges of sabotage and damaging federal property.
Lee, a politician, lawyer, and former assistant US attorney for a Utah district, is the only non-judge on the list, though has openly expressed an active interest in becoming a member of the Supreme Court.
‘I’m someone who’s been watching the Supreme Court since I was 10 years old,’ said Lee last week. ‘I’m honored to even be considered for something like this.’
Trump is expected to announce his pick on July 9. That is one day before he is scheduled to leave on a trip that includes multiple European destinations, including London, Brussels, and Helsinki.
The speed of the nomination is designed to have a new justice in place by October.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway countered critics regarding the pace of Trump’s actions, stating that he was working on a list that was established before Kennedy’s retirement announcement.
“We’re very happy with the way the process will unfold,” said Conway. “I’d say that this is going at a Trump pace, not a swamp speed, in terms of he has promised that he will announce his selection next Monday, and then go and then go and make another historic foreign trip.”