Hardiman, a runner-up when Trump chose Neil Gorsuch as his high court nominee previous year, received a wave of new attention in the weekend discussions, according to two people briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak publicly about it.
The front-runners are conservative federal circuit court judges Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, and Raymond Kethledge, according to people who are assisting the president with the nomination process or are familiar with the process.
"Judge Kavanaugh routinely rules against working families, regularly rejects the right of employees to receive employer-provided health care in the workplace, too often sides with employers in denying employees relief from discrimination in the workplace and promotes overturning well-established U.S. Supreme Court precedent", said the AFL-CIO in a press release.
President Donald Trump listens as Judge Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee, speaks in the East Room of the White House, Monday, July 9, 2018, in Washington. "He is a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time".
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.
Republicans are eager to have a new justice in place when the Supreme Court begins its new term in October.
"It's far from "a red herring" when Rudy Giuliani is saying [Trump] will not be interviewed - the president will refuse to talk to Robert Mueller or his team unless he is given evidence of a crime", Blumenthal said.
Kavanaugh not only had ties to the Bush administration but he also served under special prosecutor Kenneth Starr during the investigation into former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Hardiman was reportedly on the shortlist of candidates to replace the vacancy left by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The Judicial Crisis Network said Monday night it is launching "Confirm Kavanaugh" - a $1.4 million ad buy on national cable and digital platforms in Alabama as well as Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia.
But her voting record shows that Collins has supported all of Trump's judicial nominees, including John Kenneth Bush, Trump's nominee for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals who once described slavery and abortion as the "two greatest tragedies in our country" and compared Roe v. Wade to the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision that ruled slaves could not be United States citizens.
What are the implications of Kavanaugh's nomination?
Casey's opponent in the Senate race, U.S. Rep Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, has criticized Casey for his opposition to a Hardiman nomination. Additionally, campaigns by Paul Rand denouncing Kavanaugh may also make it hard to rally Republican support behind Trump's nominee.
With Democrats determined to vigorously oppose Trump's choice, the Senate confirmation battle is expected to dominate the months leading up to November's midterm elections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, who once held a court seat open for almost a year before the 2016 election to keep former President Barack Obama from filling it, lambasted Democrats for announcing their opposition before Trump had decided on a nominee.
If Republicans lose the Senate, they would still have control of the chamber until January.
Trump has previously said he wanted "pro-life" justices opposed to abortion rights. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, to oppose any nominee who threatens Roe v. Wade. A more conservative justice could move the court to the right, potentially for decades, and could potentially vote with the majority to overturn Roe v. Wade. But her brief time on the bench has raised questions about her experience. He guided Neil Gorsuch to a seat on the Supreme Court easily in 2017.
A group of Democratic senators from Republican-leaning states - lawmakers who could be pivotal in the confirmation fight - declined Trump's invitation to attend the White House announcement.