Donald Trump

Federal Judge, Indiana Professor Among Trump's Top Picks for Supreme Court Nomination

One of President Donald Trump's top choices for his next Supreme Court nominee is a federal judge for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and law professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Amy Coney Barrett is one of three people leading the competition to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, according to a person familiar with Trump's thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Barrett is a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who serves on the federal court based out of Chicago with jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. 

Conservative groups rallied around Barrett after her confirmation hearing last year featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) asked, "Do you consider yourself an orthodox Catholic?" while Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) said, "the dogma lives loudly within you."

Barrett is one of three top contenders for the nomination, according to a source, alongside fellow federal appeals judges Brett Kavanaugh and Raymond Kethledge.

Trump's choice to replace Kennedy — a swing vote on the nine-member court — has the potential to remake the court for a generation as part of precedent-shattering decisions on abortion, health care, gay marriage and other issues.

Recognizing the stakes, many Democrats have lined up in opposition to any Trump pick, and Republican lawmakers and activists are seeking to shape the president's decision.

Working closely with a White House team and consulting with lawmakers and outside advisers, Trump has spent the week deliberating on the choice. He conducted interviews on Monday and Tuesday and has spoken to seven possible candidates. He has not yet publicly indicated that he has narrowed the list and could still consider others in the mix.

With customary fanfare, Trump plans to announce his selection Monday night, kicking off a contentious nomination process.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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