Donald Trump urged to avoid controversial Supreme Court pick

Merrick Garland Schuck Schumer

The position will be left vacant by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, who had acted as the swing vote on many critical issues including abortion.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee that holds hearings on Supreme Court nominees, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that Trump has "outsourced" his decision to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. Leonard Leo, the vice president of the conservative Federalist Society who selected Trump's longlist of 25 candidates for the supreme court, told ABC's This Week that warnings about Roe v Wade were a "scare tactic".

Reuters reported last week that conservative federal appeals court judges Kethledge and Brett Kavanaugh were the two most serious contenders being considered by Trump for the Supreme Court, citing a source familiar with the process.

Thapar was on the shortlist of candidates after judge Antonin Scalia died in 2016.

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Leo has the powerful track record of helping to pick and confirm three of the court's conservative justices, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch.

Talking to reporters travelling with him to Montana overseas Air Force One, Trump said he had interviewed some "extraordinarily talented and brilliant" people during the process. "We've been talking about this for 36 years, going all the way back to the nomination of Sandra O'Connor", he said. "But we're very close to making a decision".

"It is extraordinary", Blumenthal said. I think they're all outstanding. "If you're a conservative Republican, the four people named, particularly Thomas Hardiman, I'm glad he's on the list, are all winners, and every Republican should embrace these picks". "I've never seen a president of the United States in effect make himself a puppet of outside groups and choose from a group of right-wing fringe ideologues that are prepared on this list". "And I think we can take this call to action to the American people, take our case to them". We'll announce it on Monday. Eastern. The president is spending the weekend at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he's continuing to mull his choices for a second appointment to the nation's top court.

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