Sen. Doug Jones vows 'independent review' of Trump's Supreme Court nominee

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If confirmed, he would replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, for whom Kavanaugh once served as a clerk.

Barrett of IN, 46, serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

In rare form, Trump reportedly was so invested in building the suspense around the decision that he didn't tell aides or close associates about his decision and the White House kept the circle of people informed on the selection process thin.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of SC and Roy Blunt of Missouri said Sunday that they believe any of the top four contenders could get confirmed by the GOP-majority Senate.

"I will oppose the nomination the President will make tonight because it represents a corrupt bargain with the far Right, big corporations, and Washington special interests", said Casey in a statement. The group Fix the Court, which advocates for Supreme Court transparency and accountability, sued the National Archives and Records Administration and the Justice Department on Tuesday over outstanding requests under the Freedom of Information Act related to Kavanaugh's time working under the former independent counsel Ken Starr, who was investigating the Clinton White House. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kyl also was the sherpa in the confirmation battle over Trump's pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions - a favorite of anti-immigrant hardliners of the right.

Kennedy had voted to preserve the core principles of the high court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Trump he believes Kethledge and Hardiman might be easier for the Senate to confirm than either Kavanaugh or Barrett, The New York times reported, citing Republican officials briefed on the conversations.

According to the Associated Press, "Kavanaugh is likely to be more conservative than Justice Kennedy on a range of social issues.

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"For judges, there is a natural and understandable inclination to decide these weighty and historic constitutional questions", Kavanaugh wrote.

Trump's eagerness to tease maximum drama out of the nomination he promised Sunday that an "exceptional person will be chosen" has drawn criticism from opposition ranks.

The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), whose leaders pushed Justice Neil Gorsuch over the finish line a year ago, are getting their war chests ready.

Kennedy was long a swing vote on the nine-member court, and Trump's choice - his second opportunity in 18 months to fill a Supreme Court vacancy - will dramatically affect many aspects of American life, from abortion to voting rights to immigration. "Judge Kavanaugh has the qualifications that make him immensely qualified to take a seat on the highest court in the land".

But his supporters note his experience and a wide range of legal opinions.

Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal appeals judge last fall - excited social conservatives with her testimony when she was questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings previous year.

"I was extraordinarily depressed when Justice Kennedy announced his retirement". Republicans have a razor-thin Senate majority.

"I don't think he would have been put on [Trump's] list had he not been one of these hard-right judges".