President Trump enjoys 'suspense' ahead of Supreme Court announcement

A local resident is rescued from a flooded area in Kurashiki southern Japan

A local resident is rescued from a flooded area in Kurashiki southern Japan

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Sunday President Trump is acting like a "puppet" for outside groups and claimed Trump is set to nominate a "fringe ideologue" to the Supreme Court.

Doug Jones should "do the right thing" and support President Donald Trump's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Rep. Bradley Byrne said Monday.

Speaking of the president's shortlist, which The Hill reported includes Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman, Graham suggested that any conservative Republican would be happy with the options-touting Hardiman in particular as a good choice.

- Maggie Haberman of the New York Times, reporting on President Donald Trump's decision on his pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

On the latter point, Leonard Leo, an executive with the conservative Federalist Society who is advising Trump on his second high court pick, broke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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Hardiman, 53, has served on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2007, having been appointed by Republican former President George W. Bush, after four years as a U.S. district judge in western Pennsylvania. He helped finance his law degree at the Georgetown University Law Center by driving a taxi. But his supporters cite his experience and wide range of legal opinions. Previous lobbying efforts by McConnell - including a push for fellow Kentuckian 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amul Thapar, who would have been the court's first Asian-American nominee - have failed. A former aide to a Republican senator, Kethledge also previously worked as an in-house lawyer for Ford Motor Co. She has discussed her opposition to abortion before - which is based in her Catholic beliefs - but promised senators past year during her confirmation hearing for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that her religious beliefs would not color her decisions. Though Kennedy is a conservative, he was often a swing vote on big decisions, such as same-sex marriage, abortion and affirmative action.

The White House has assembled a team to handle communications, strategy and messaging coordination to defend and push the nomination through on Capitol Hill.

"Let's say it's the four people".

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of SC and Roy Blunt of Missouri said Sunday that they believe any of the top four contenders could get confirmed by the GOP-majority Senate. I do think the president has to think about who is the easiest to get confirmed here.

The calls signal that Trump has narrowed his list of potential candidates to two finalists, but has not yet settled on a nominee with just hours to go until a scheduled 9 p.m.

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