Trump considering two women for Supreme Court; will announce pick July 9

Generally conservative’ candidates on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist nomination coming soon

US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on board Air Force One

After nominating Neil Gorsuch to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in January 2017, Trump appointed three judges who had previously clerked for Kennedy to federal appeals courts, and he included another two on the shortlist to fill any subsequent vacancies on the Supreme Court, The Times reported.

During the candidate vetting the last time, the White House asked all the contenders whom they would pick instead of themselves - and they all said Gorsuch, said the person, who was not authorized to disclose private conversations.

The Supreme Court opening poses a tough test for Democratic senators up for re-election this year in the states that Trump won in 2016, particularly Manchin, Sen.

"Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016: Not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. "This appointment will have a significant effect on the availability of abortion", Carroll said.

An open seat on the Supreme Court was an important factor in rallying conservatives behind Trump's presidential election campaign in 2016.

Nearly as soon as Kennedy's retirement was announced, several anti-abortion rights groups seized on the moment.

"We need intellect. We need so many things", Trump said. The Yale Law School graduate is a former clerk to Mr Kennedy, meaning he could have the backing of the retiring justice.

"Our goal in the pro-life movement has always been to make abortion illegal and unthinkable", Hawkins said.

Without Kennedy on the bench, the high court could move to the right on major social issues including abortion, gay rights and the death penalty.

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Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research organization, said the Arkansas law "conflicts with Roe by imposing an undue burden on a patient seeking an abortion". Trump's huge margin with these voters exceeded the victory margins they gave GOP presidential candidates George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

So there's a lot more at stake in the debate over Justice Kennedy's successor than just who will fill his Supreme Court seat.

Then starts the politics of a Senate confirmation.

Murkowski isn't rated as favorably among abortion rights groups, she has a 58-percent vote rating in 2018 from Planned Parenthood, but arguably there is no one in the Senate more independent than the Alaska Republican, and prouder of her reputation among women in her state.

Ninety percent of Democrats said the vacancy would make them more likely to vote for a Democratic Senate candidate in the November 6 election, compared with 81 percent of Republicans who said the issue would make them more likely to vote for a Senate candidate from their party. "It will be cast as a pretty pivotal vote on the court on this issue and many, many others".

Steve Aden, general counsel of Americans United for Life, said he expects the nominee will be "somebody who reveres the Constitution like Gorsuch and Antonin Scalia".

"President Trump and Mitch McConnell hold the balance of the court in their hands right now".

"They're looking for anything and everything to motivate their base because they know they've got a big problem on their hands", said Maslin.

Already the confirmation process is becoming a debate about the future of abortion rights in America and whether the nominee would uphold the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and subsequent challenges that have upheld a woman's right to abortion access.

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