US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praises Trump's SCOTUS pick

Raymond Kethledge testifies during his confirmation hearing for the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2008

This was true of many Republicans as well, but Republicans were far more likely than either Democrats or independents to want to see Roberts and Alito confirmed.

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. Democrats are voicing alarm about what the new justice could mean for charged issues such as abortion rights and gay rights.

The finalists are believed to be four federal judges: Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman.

Kennedy's retirement left a hole for Trump to fill smack in the middle of the deeply divided court, where all nine justices tend to vote the way the presidents who nominated them expected.

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said he was bracing for a tough confirmation battle as Democrats focus on abortion. Luther Strange, cutting the GOP's Senate majority to 51-49. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer called Trump recently to warn it would be "cataclysmic" for national unity if he nominated someone hostile to Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that protects women's rights to abortion, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

Kavanaugh is Trump's second nominee to the high court since he took office in January 2017.

Then McConnell and other Republicans reminded Trump of another political goal: the confirmation path of least resistance. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Whatever they decide will upset a large group of voters in their home states.

Kavanaugh's nomination was met overall with cheers from conservatives but it wasn't unanimous.

President Barack Obama nominated Garland on March 16, 2016, eight months before the presidential election on November 8, 2016.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) praised the president's conservative selection for the next Supreme Court justice. The site's headline says it all: "Democrats' Senate dream slips away". And Democrats now appear poised to pick up seats in Arizona and Nevada, though both races are still tight.

On abortion, Kavanaugh voted in October to delay an abortion for a teenage immigrant who was in government custody. Gorsuch met with almost three-quarters of the Senate in advance of his hearings.

There is bound to be a lot of media fanfare around the announcement since Trump's choice will mark a significant and lasting shift in how the Supreme Court rules on cases. He served on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmations of four of the last five justices who have joined the Supreme Court.

Macias says it's not clear that Kavanaugh would actually cast a vote to change current abortion laws.

The liberal advocacy group Demand Justice will spend $5 million on ads through September and began airing spots Thursday in ME and Alaska aimed at pressuring Collins and Murkowski.

There's so much at stake with Donald Trump's pick.

Democrats who plan to oppose Trump's nominee are focusing on two Republican moderates, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, hoping to turn them against Trump's selection.

Whoever the President chooses, the nominee is expected to go through hearings set up by Congress in the coming days and/or weeks.

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