In recent days, Trump has shown a newfound interest in Judge Thomas Hardiman, who was the runner-up past year when he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Politico reported Monday that Hardiman is one of the president's top candidates to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of July.
Valentino explained that she and Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be strong conservative choices.
President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump, background right, board Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport, in Morristown, N.J., Sunday, July 8, 2018, en route to Washington from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. Susan Collins said she wouldn't support a nominee hostile to the court's precedent in Roe v. Wade - and the conservative Barrett has expressed a willingness to reverse precedent she sees as wrongly decided.
They include Judge Raymond Kethledge, 51, who sits on the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, who would puncture the Ivy League aura that cloaks the Supreme Court since he studied law at the University of MI and not Harvard or Yale.
The White House reassigned key communications staff last week to focus exclusively on the looming Supreme Court fight. Barrett has already crossed swords with Democrats in her Senate confirmation hearing for her current job, when California Sen.
One Democrat up for re-election, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, announced Monday he would oppose any nominee from Trump's list of 25 possible candidates, drafted by conservative groups.
Kavanaugh, 53, is a former Kennedy law clerk who was appointed to the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals by former President George W. Bush after serving five years in the White House counsel's office during the Bush administration.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told Trump that the judges presenting the fewest obstacles to confirmation are Raymond Kethledge of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Thomas Hardiman of the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The New York Times reported Sunday that Trump found Kethledge a little boring and anxious about his record on immigration. Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama faces reelection in 2020.
"I think the path to confirmation for any of the final four is not a problem", he told CNN.
Recent developments underline the shrewdness of Trump's campaign team, which published a list of potential court nominees with stellar conservative credentials before he faced off against Hillary Clinton.
The Commander-in-Chief said he was "looking forward" to unveiling his pick to join the Supreme Court Sunday evening, adding "an exceptional person will be chosen". Gorsuch restored the court's conservative majority.