President Donald Trump said he interviewed four Supreme Court candidates on Monday to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, telling reporters he would be making a decision in the coming days.

While not discussing many details of her private conversation with the president, Collins told Raddatz she "suggested that he broaden his search beyond the list of 25 nominees", referring to the president's "List of 25" from which he has pledged to pick the new justice.

He has said he was homing in on up to seven candidates, including two women.

"I told [Trump] that I was looking for a nominee that would demonstrate a respect for precedent, a long-standing and vital tenet of our judicial system", Collins said Sunday on ABC.

That was a reference to Roe, where the Court in 1973 invented a constitutional right to abortion. "It would be fair to say the president is not going to pick somebody who has a clear record of opposition to Roe v. Wade?".

During his 2016 campaign and presidency, Trump embraced pro-life groups and vowed to appoint federal judges who will favor efforts to roll back abortion rights. But his step away from the day-to-day operations of the White House press shop could also signal the beginning of his exit from the White House, which Shah has been mulling in recent weeks.

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All four names Leo mentioned are on Trump's list of potential Supreme Court justices. So far, Murkowski has stayed relatively mum on the topic, saying only that she would "carefully scrutinize the qualifications of judicial nominees" and would cast an "independent vote". According to a poll released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, two-thirds of Americans support Roe v. Wade remaining intact. Even though McConnell changed Senate rules a year ago to allow confirmation by simple majority, if Democrats hold together, he can not afford defections.

Sunday morning on Meet the Press, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said this will be a key vote for everyone in the Senate.

The other top potential nominees are Thomas Hardiman, who serves on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; Raymond Kethledge of the Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Amul Thapar, whom Trump named to the 6th Circuit. Collins responded that she actually doesn't think Gorsuch would vote to overturn Roe - a sentiment that prompted Mother Jones to wonder, "Is Susan Collins the most gullible person on the planet?"

Kaine said those groups are well within their rights to stake out their strongly held beliefs against abortion, but said the law is a separate argument.

"There are not a lot of nominees on that list that many Democrats will support", said Tobias, noting that any candidate backed by the Federalist Society is likely comfortable overturning Roe v. Wade.


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