President Donald Trump plans to announce his pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9. The worst fears - and highest hopes - excited by the prospect of a new Supreme Court justice may well be overblown.
When the final gavel came down to end the Supreme Court term on Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court press corps scurried to their computers to begin writing stories about a momentous term where the justices took a hard right turn on core issues and liberals found themselves on the losing end of more than a dozen 5-4 opinions.
Whoever the new justice is will pick up where Kennedy left off nearly surely will cast a more conservative vote next term.
The 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide won't be overturned automatically, nor without a fight.
It's not certain who has made the president's shortlist, but many outlets have reported that Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a former Kennedy clerk, is the frontrunner.
Whatever Trump said during his campaign, Leo said abortion did not come up in the president's interviews with prospective nominees when he chose Justice Neil Gorsuch past year. But he barreled forward as he engaged Mr. Trump in a discussion about what he should say to his constituents in New Jersey about the Trump administration's immigration policies that have led to migrant families being separated at the southwestern border.
Trump has hit the ground running, meeting Thursday with key Republican and Democratic senators at the White House in the evening to discuss the vacancy.
The president originally said he was considering a list of 25 candidates.
Possible nominees being eyed include Thomas Hardiman, who serves alongside Trump's sister on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Raymond Kethledge, a federal appeals court judge who clerked for Kennedy.
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.
Trump quickly delivered on that promise by selecting Neil Gorsuch, who has become one of the most conservative justices. Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota also talked to Trump. Trump asked Manchin, the senator recalled.
"I have a good relationship with the president".
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, one of only two Republican senators who supports abortion rights, told ABC's This Week she's looking for a nominee who would demonstrate a respect for precedent and that she sees Roe as settled law.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Trump also said he's narrowed his list of potential candidates for the job.