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Trump ponders personal chemistry, legal record in election of Supreme Court nominee


Donald Trump

is balancing the political potential, legal background and personal chemistry of those nominated by the Supreme Court, as it approaches its July 9 deadline to announce its election to succeed the retrial of justice

Anthony Kennedy

People familiar with the search said the president interviewed seven candidates for the Supreme Court on Monday and Tuesday, the final steps before deciding on the second nomination of his presidency by the Supreme Court.

The search process is the responsibility of the White House

Don McGahn,

who has been advising the president on the judicial file of the candidates and examining their qualifications. As Mr. Trump weighs the election, he is testing whether he has personal chemistry with the candidates, his advisors said. Mr. Trump likes brilliant curricula, but he also values ​​candidates who project strength and self-confidence, they said.

Mr. Trump spoke by telephone on Tuesday with at least two possible candidates for the Supreme Court, said one person familiar with the matter: Judge

Thomas Hardiman

of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Judge

Joan Larsen

of the US Court of Appeals. UU for the Sixth Circuit.

Follow a round of interviews on Monday with federal judges Amy Coney Barrett,

Brett Kavanaugh,

Raymond Kethledge


Amul Thapar,

according to two people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Trump also spoke on Monday to

Senator Mike Lee,

a Republican from Utah on the long list of 25 candidates for the White House post who has expressed enthusiasm for the job. People close to the search believe that Mr. Lee's chances are slim.

A statement from the White House says that the president and Mr. Lee spoke on the phone, but did not describe the conversation as an interview. A great person for Mr. Lee's prospects is Mr. McGahn, said a person close to the White House.

Mr. McGahn did not respond to a request for comment.

The vacancy created by the retirement of the swinging Justice Kennedy vote is an opportunity for Trump to imprint a lasting imprint on a high court in which liberal and conservative factions have been mourning for years. But first you must guide the candidate for confirmation in a Senate where Republicans have a narrow majority of 50-49, given the frequent absence of

Senator John McCain

(R., Ariz.), Who is sick.

Several Republican senators have resisted their party in the past, including

Susan Collins

of Maine, which on Tuesday became the focus of a NARAL Pro-Choice America ad campaign, trying to persuade her to reject any candidate who does not share her belief that the court should maintain broad support for the right to abortion.

. Trump has courted a trio of Democratic senators in states he won in 2016-

Heidi Heitkamp

from North Dakota,

Joe Manchin

of West Virginia, and

Joe Donnelly

of Indiana. Democrats, meanwhile, expect to part with Ms. Collins in particular, as well as

Senator Lisa Murkowski

of Alaska, another centrist Republican who supports the right to abortion.

The issue of abortion could energize Republican voters in the November midterm elections, but Trump and his allies are also considering whether it could provoke a backlash. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Kentucky) has said he wants a Senate vote on the nominee in time for the incoming justice to join the court for the new term, which begins early in the year. October.

The Democrats say a vote this fall could boost their candidates in the mid-term races.

Mr. It is believed that Trump enjoyed his meeting with Judge Kavanaugh, a former Justice Kennedy employee and a former member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Circuit of the District of Columbia. Another admirer of Judge Kavanaugh is Mr. McGahn, the White House attorney, said a person close to the White House.

Mr. McGahn has argued that Judge Kavanaugh's long record of judicial sentences makes it a known amount, said this person. Other people close to the White House have said that the president and Mr. McGahn worry that a candidate who lacks such a registry can be more malleable once he arrives in court.

But the candidacy of Judge Kavanaugh has drawbacks. One of his allies is Karl Rove, a former adviser to the president

George W. Bush

who opposed Mr. Trump's offer for president.

Mr. Trump enjoyed his interview with Judge Kethledge and felt that the two "shit," said a person close to the White House.

Judge Barrett, a former late justice clerk

Antonin Scalia

who spent most of her career as an academic at the Notre Dame Law School, is seen by some of the president's allies as part of a modern Supreme Court justice.

It also offers a personal story that attracts some members of the administration officials and activists who will be responsible for selling their candidacy, as a mother of seven who juggled with family and career, and as a center of scrutiny for their Catholic faith during his confirmation hearing last year for the Seventh Circuit of Chicago. [19659003SomeonefamiliarizedwiththeinvocacyinformationarealsopreparedtoacandidateaddictionthatrepublicancentersandcentralcentricdemocratshaveincludedincludingSrDonnellyandIndianaanclassmateofNotreDamewhorevotedtoconfirmBarrett'sjusticeasafederalj

Mr. Trump has also been offered a compelling story of several other candidates, including those who were considered and closely examined by the last election of the president of the Supreme Court. Judge Hardiman, son of the owner of a taxi company, drove and dispatched taxis himself.

He is also a rare potential candidate who received a unanimous vote of the Senate to confirm it for the Third Circuit, in 2007. The votes were much closer for the judges. Barrett and Kavanaugh, although each secured the backing of at least one Democrat who is still in the Senate. Judge Thapar was confirmed without the support of either.

Judge Kethledge, also of the Sixth Circuit, is another former Justice Kennedy employee.

Some candidates have strong congressional sponsors, including Judge Thapar, a Kentuckian with the open support of Mr. McConnell.

Sen Cory Gardner

of Colorado, which heads the campaign branch of the Senate Republicans, advocates

Allison Eid,

of the Tenth Circuit based in Denver.

Mr. Trump and his advisors must also evaluate the amount of a written record they want from their candidate. Such traces can sting the nominees by creating a record for opponents to oppose and even give some potential allies concrete examples of disagreement.

Judge Barrett has been in the Seventh Circuit for less than a year.

But the trail also creates safeguards against a judge who deviates from expectations about how they will vote: a key concern for some social conservatives after the president

George H.W. Bush

appointment of

David Souter,

who emerged as a reliable liberal vote during the time on the court.

"Our motto is:" No more Souters ", said a conservative social leader.

Write to Louise Radnofsky at louise.radnofsky@wsj.com and Peter Nicholas at peter.nicholas@wsj.com


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