"All Republicans should embrace these picks", Graham said, adding, however: "Here's the truth". At her recent confirmation hearing, however, she said it was never permissible for judges to "follow their personal convictions in deciding a case". Kethledge, 51, is a judge for the Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, while Hardiman, 52, serves on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals - also appointed by Bush.
"I suspect this is going to be a rough, tough, down in the dirt, ear-pulling, nose-biting fight", Kennedy said. It's about what country - the United States of America - is going to chart as its course in the future on this Supreme Court.
Trump is set to announce his choice Monday night. But there are red state Senate Democrats who are up for re-election in November like Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of WV and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. If Mr. McCain is not able to vote, only one Republican would have to defect to derail the confirmation, assuming the Democrats maintain flawless party discpline.
Departing his New Jersey golf club on Sunday afternoon, Trump told reporters he was still making up his mind.
The source told Reuters that Amy Coney Barrett of IN, a Trump-appointed judge on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, was still IN contention but that the Republican president had been asking more questions about the other two, who have more extensive judicial records.
Trump's aides have prepared briefing books and booked television spots for whomever he picks, anticipating that they'll have little time to spare between his decision and the reveal, sources tell ABC News.
Schumer says the administration's action highlights the stakes for senators. Kennedy, 81, announced on June 27 plans to retire after three decades on the court, effective on July 31.
The rollout will be modeled on the seamless presentation in January 2017 of the President's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, in what was undeniably one of his most successful and most well-managed moments as President.
Before retiring in 2013, Kyl was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will be the first to consider the nomination.
McConnell's office has stressed that it took about two months each to get Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Gorsuch through, and they warn Kavanaugh's background and work in Washington could slow confirmation.
The White House hopes Kyl's close ties to Senate Republicans will help smooth the path for Trump's eventual selection to win confirmation. Relishing the suspense, Trump insisted he still hadn't locked down his decision, which he wants to keep under wraps until a 9 p.m. Monday announcement from the White House. The White House said Monday that former Arizona Sen.
Support for nomination: Barrett also served as a law clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who is beloved by conservatives.
Leo said Hardiman of Pennsylvania and Kethledge of MI are "a little bit less known by conservatives".
"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", Senator Bob Casey said.
Bob Salera, a campaign spokesman for Senate Republicans, said Casey has "given up any pretense of being a moderate voice" by opposing Trump's nominee sight unseen.
Trump's success in confirming conservative judges, as well as a Supreme Court justice, has cheered Republicans amid concerns about his limited policy achievements and chaotic management style.