Another contender Judge Raymond Kethlidge made headlines blasting the IRS over its treatment of tea party groups. Trump's sister, a retired federal judge, served with Hardiman on the 3rd Circuit and reportedly recommended him for the job.
Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh - a longtime judge and former clerk for Kennedy - questioning his commitment to social issues like abortion and noting his time serving under President George W. Bush as evidence he is a more establishment choice.
The President is predicting he'll announce his pick for the Supreme Court Monday night at 9 p.m. "And that's really ultimately what drives the conservative legal movement..." Without Republican defections, however, Senate rules leave Democrats with scant options to block confirmation of Trump's nominee. Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama faces reelection in 2020.
The real players are folks like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose late-hour political jockeying upended the notion that the high court spot was D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh's to lose. Kavanaugh worked in the administration of each President Bush and also for independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the investigation that eventually led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. She has discussed her opposition to abortion before - which is based in her Catholic beliefs - but promised senators previous year during her confirmation hearing for the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that her religious beliefs would not color her decisions. Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is battling brain cancer and has not been back to the Capitol since December.More news: Dele, Maguire head England into first semi-final in 28 years
The White House has tapped former Republican Sen. President Donald Trump: "Well, it's still-let's say it's the four people, but-and they're excellent, every one".
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.
"I'm open to voting yes".
Relishing the guessing game beyond the White House gates, Trump had little to say about his choice.More news: United States jobs growth stronger than expected
It is not exaggeration to say that the prospect of tipping the balance of the Supreme Court was the reason why evangelical conservative voters, who had plenty of reason to worry about Trump's character, chose to stick with him during the 2016 election campaign.
Trump tweeted later Sunday that he was looking forward to the announcement and said an "exceptional person will be chosen!"
By installing Gorsuch and another, similar candidate on the court, Trump can tell conservative voters that he kept his promises and give them a reason to solidify his electoral coalition. The nomination is poised to cement the Supreme Court's conservative majority, vastly reshaping the court for decades to come.More news: Leckie named a 'breakout star' of the World Cup