According to the sources familiar with the process, Trump has wrapped up the interview process and current frontrunners include Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Raymond Kethledge, all of whom met with Trump Monday.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the Utah GOP senator's closest colleagues, said Trump has a "sure thing" in Lee. Trump said he'll name his nominee July 9, and the White House aims to have Kennedy's successor confirmed in time for the court's next session in October.
Read the full story at Fox News. Recognizing the stakes, many Democrats have lined up in opposition to any Trump pick, and Republican lawmakers and activists are seeking to shape the president's decision. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to the post instead "because there is not a single soul out there who can doubt that a Justice Mike Lee would remain true to the convictions he has fought for his entire life".
Citing unnamed sources, Fox News said the president has met with the six candidates, with some being interviewed a couple of times.
The official said the president will announce the pick Monday evening, in an event likely similar to his unveiling of Gorsuch, followed by an aggressive P.R. pitch from the West Wing.
On Kethledge, Trump asked more generally about whether people knew him and about his judicial record, the people said. The list was put together by The Federalist Society, a national organization of conservative lawyers that played a central role in the confirmation of three high-court justices: John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. Before joining the bench, she was a professor at Notre Dame Law School, her alma mater, and two decades ago, clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. "President Trump can become the first Republican president in recent history to hit a home run on all his Supreme Court nominations, cementing his legacy for all time".
"No other nominee fits that mold like Mike Lee", Cruz writes.
Kavanaugh, 53, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit who has a background in politics. That list included two contenders from Alabama - Justices Kevin Newsom and William "Bill" Pryor of Alabama, both with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11 Circuit.
Tobias said federal appeals court judges Raymond Kethledge of MI and Brett Kavanaugh of Maryland are rumored to be the frontrunners to fill the vacant seat.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday at an event in Louisville that he, too, has been talking to the president about the search and believes "the president will make a very high-quality appointment".
On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from ME, reiterated that she could not vote for a nominee with a "demonstrated hostility" to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that established a woman's right to an abortion.