Donald Trump nears decision on replacement for Supreme Court

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Trump's Supreme Court Nomination to Preempt TV Programming

Claire McCaskill (D) is already one of the most vulnerable lawmakers up for re-election in November - President Trump won her state by 19 points in 2016 - and the looming Supreme Court vote is playing right into her Republican opponent's hand, Politico reports.

McConnell was originally hopeful that Trump would select Amul Thapar, a federal appeals court judge who was previously on the bench in Kentucky, but has concluded that the president is unlikely to name him.

According to the Associated Press, Trump's top contenders for the vacancy at this time are federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge, said a person familiar with Trump's thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly. "And I will devote all my energies to ensuring that we confirm the kind of Supreme Court justice America needs: a justice who says what the law is, not what she wants it to be; a justice who calls balls and strikes instead of swinging for the fences; a justice whose foremost allegiance is to the American people and to the Constitution".

Savoring the suspense, Trump has sought to keep people guessing in the final hours, hoping to replicate his successful announcement of Justice Neil Gorsuch previous year.

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While final nominees will be known only when Mr Trump makes the announcement, this would be for the second time that Mr Thapar might not be able to make it to the final cut after being interviewed by Trump. The US President interviewed seven candidates from his master list of 25 judges, the White House said. This will be 6.30 am IST, 10 July.

Trump has teased details of his process in recent days, saying Thursday that he was down to four people and "of the four people, I have it down to three or two".

"I think of the four people, I have it down to three or two".

"I'm very confident with this president's enthusiasm and with [Senate Majority] Leader McConnell's enthusiasm that they can get anybody confirmed", Leonard Leo, who is on leave from the Federalist Society to help the White House with the selection, told ABC's "This Week."

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He said he believes that any of the four candidates on the short list will dismantle Roe v. Wade and other hard-fought rights.

Blumenthal accused Trump of turning himself into a "puppet of outside groups" by choosing his nominee from "a group of rightwing fringe ideologues that have prepared this list".

"The vast majority of American people, shown by poll after poll, want Roe v. Wade to be preserved", Blumenthal said.

Mr Trump had on Friday discussed the nomination with Vice President Mike Pence in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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