Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Durbin plans tough questions for any Supreme Court nominee

Durbin plans tough questions for any Supreme Court nominee

The South Carolina Republican's comments come as the president said he would announce his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday.

If as expected Trump nominates someone firmly to the right, conservatives could dominate the court for years. Unlike the current Justices, Hardiman doesn't have an Ivy League law degree - a fact Trump said on the 2016 presidential campaign trail was a positive factor for a potential nominee if he became President.

Hardiman, 53, a judge on the federal court in Philadelphia, is less known in terms of his legal philosophy, but has roots in the working class that could make him attractive to the public.

In a 2013 law review article, Kavanaugh wrote that after seeing firsthand the many hard duties that a president encounters, he thinks that presidents should operate free from the threat of civil suits, such as the sexual harassment suit that led to President Clinton's impeachment, and that presidents should also be free from criminal investigations.

Dick Durbin (D-IL) will be grilling President Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Another Democrat, Senator Richard Blumenthal, on Sunday assailed Trump's reliance on a list of potential nominees endorsed by the conservative Federalist Society.

After winning confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch past year, Trump has teased his latest options for days, after narrowing down his list of prospects to four federal appeals-court judges: Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an appellate judge from Maryland who has ruled against Obamacare and abortion rights in the past. But his supporters have cited his experience and wide range of legal opinions. Given the Republican's slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, the conservative seemingly already has the numbers to take Kennedy's seat.

Some Republican senators had favored other options. Others have expressed concern about how Kavanaugh would vote on cases related to the health care law. Sen.

Democrats and liberal advocacy groups quickly lined up in opposition.

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

For starters, Judicial Crisis Network is launching a $1.4 million ad buy on national cable and digital, with a particular focus on four states: Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia. If Mr. McCain is not able to vote, only one Republican would have to defect to derail the confirmation, assuming the Democrats maintain flawless party discpline. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) are waiting until after Trump announces his nominee before revealing how they will vote. She once called a 1992 Supreme Court decision that upheld Roe v. Wade "erroneous".

Groups that support abortion rights are planning a "Day of Action" for August 26, the anniversary of the 1920 adoption of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

At the top of issues that will be closely watched is abortion.

Kennedy's replacement also could be more willing to allow states to carry out executions and could support undoing earlier court holdings in the areas of racial discrimination in housing and the workplace.

Hardiman was nominated to the federal trial court by George W. Bush in 2003 and to the 3rd Circuit in 2007, when he was confirmed by the Senate in a 95-0 vote.

MARTIN: Amy Barrett is also someone who might have a tough time.

In his remarks, Kavanaugh expressed his view of a judge's role.

Kavanaugh worked for Starr, whose investigation of Clinton helped spur an effort by congressional Republicans in 1998 and 1999 to impeach the Democratic president and remove him from office. The court's ruling in her favor was based on a constitutional principle, he wrote, "as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. Government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand".

The issue even prompted moderate Republican Sen.

"I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh and to the Senate's fair consideration of his nomination, beginning with the work of Chairman Grassley and the Judiciary Committee". The White House said Monday that former Arizona Sen.

Trump has been uncharacteristically circumspect about what he is thinking as the process has unfolded. The official said the White House reached out to every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings, and that only Democrat Kamala Harris "refused to engage". The White House hopes Kyl's close ties to Senate Republicans will help smooth the path for confirmation.

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