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Inside Trump's plan for a new Supreme Court justice

President Neil M. Gorsuch, following a methodical course in hopes of avoiding the lurching disorder, so often engulfs his White House

Anthony M. Kennedy, he has left himself a room for improvisation – [part of the book]

The interview process for a. Gorsuch as a model, the president has said that he will be a candidate for a presidential candidate half-dozen or so finalists is beginning, including private sit-downs with Trump starting this weekend at his Bedminster, NJ, golf course, as well as sessions with White House Counsel nald McGahn and formal FBI background checks. An event date has also been set: July 9, the first Monday after the July 4 holiday and the day before Trump jets to Brussels for a week-long European trip.

With just four months until the midterm elections, when any Democratic gains in the Senate would jeopardize a Trump nominee, the White House is working with Senate Republican leaders to set a rapid timeline for voting on a nominee by October so they can take advantage of the GOP's razor-thin majority in the chamber. Trump and senior White House officials are already lobbying key senators, […]

Trump says he understands the stakes.

"Outside of war and peace,

In most other realms, Trump is quick to reject norms and resist the established order. Where previous presidents zigged, the 45th almost always wants to zag. But not when it comes to the Supreme Court. So far, at least, Trump is taking his direction from his counselors, including two with deep roots at Washington's Conservative Network: McGahn and Leonard Leo, who is on leave from the Federalist Society to informally advise on judicial nominations.

Since before taking office, Trump has strategized with McGahn, Leo and others about aggressively filling federal court vacancies. The pace has been historic – and, for conservative, the outcome has been an undeniable success.

"This president had a vision," Leo said. "He did something entrepreneurial and different. Asked questions about [the late] Justice [Antonin] Scalia and Justice [Clarence] Kennedy a little bit. I have been really impressed with how he led this process. He's in control of it. "

Trump has said advisers he's looking for three overarching attributes in a replacement for Kennedy. First, one adviser said, Trump insists upon an "extraordinarily well qualified" nominee with a superlative resume. Harvard or Yale. The Harvard or Yale. He trump does not care to read it;

Secondly, Trump has said it is essential to his nominee "not the weak," the political and social fashions of the day, "as the adviser put it.

Thirdly, Trump privately says he wants a nominee who wants to "interpret the constitution the way it is meant to be," according to the adviser the president.

Trump wants to look good for personal chemistry, central-casting looks and relatable life stories. Last year, Trump was drawn to Thomas Hardiman, runner-up to Gorsuch in the court sweepstakes, in part because of his working-class roots. Hardiman is a court appeals court judge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Trump has a strong political following.

Hardiman is believed to be a contender this time as well. So Trump's shortlist is said to include Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana; U.S. Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of Maryland, a former Kennedy law clerk; U.S. Judge Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, who was a finalist last year; and U.S. Appeals Court Judge Amul Thapar of Kentucky.

Last Wednesday night in Fargo, ND, just a few hours after Kennedy was released his retirement, Trump told him he was "in the crowd." his replacement and talked about his criteria.

"We have a pick to come up," Trump said. 40 years, 45 years. We need intellect. We need so many things to go. You know, there's so many elements in the making of a great justice of the Supreme Court. "

Kennedy might retire this summer at the conclusion

On the morning of his announcement, Trump was on the phone with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Kennedy would step down. Kennedy was at the White House personally notifying Trump of his decision. The president and McConnell spoke again, adding that they are underscoring the significance of the vacancy.

Josh Holmes, a close advisor to McConnell, said it was "almost impossible to overstate the big deal" [the Kennedy vacancy is] for conservative at-large, but most of all for the trump administration.

Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the Conservative Judicial Crisis Network, said, "I think you are right in the middle of it."

Democratic leaders say they should wait until after the midterm elections so that the newly-installed Senate could consider the nominee in early 2019. McConnell set in 2016, when he put Morrick Garland's then-President's consideration, then-President Obama's nominee to fill Sacalia's seat until after the presidential election. Trump's nominee to spend the second half of July and early August 1965 The Republican plan is for Trump's nominee to spend the second half of July and early August on Capitol Hill and Preparing for Confirmation hearings, which was scheduled to begin in August, with committee votes by early September. 1.

"There's a belief that it should not be drag out," said Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs. "The process from our end should move pretty rapidly because the president has had time to consider the same list since he made it out during the campaign.

White House outreach to other senators began almost immediately. Trump's nominee met Trump.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) – Who Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) – a trio of Democrats who backed Gorsuch – met with Trump one-on-one. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), two republicans who back abortion rights.

In Manchin's private session with Trump, the senator for some input on the type of justice he should nominate. Manchin recommended a centrist jurist who would abide by the Rule of Law and the Constitution, the senator recalled. "

" The discussion did not go, 'will you support whoever I put up?' Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval. "He knows me better than that."

White House officials thus made a call to be a member of the Judiciary Committee, persuadable senators and members of Republican Leadership, according to a senior White House official. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the only lawmaker on Trump's list of 25 potential picks,

Missing from the call list so far, according to to aides: Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

"Everyone's gone through the drill Jason Miller, former Trump campaign adviser.

Trump, a former reality television producer and star.

"I just saw him on television last night, where he said he would love the job," Trump said.

Trump was quick to compliment Lee: "Very good guy, very talented, very smart." But hey, he did not like the Utahan as his nominee on July 9, the president kept everyone guessing.

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