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Meet the likely nominees for the next Supreme Court justice

President Trump reportedly spent the last weekend interviewing candidates for the position, and insiders say that he has narrowed it to three people.

(Image: Sebastian Pichler/

Washington D.C., Jul 6, 2018 / 04:53 pm (CNA).- On July 9, President Donald Trump will announce his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Trump reportedly spent the last weekend interviewing candidates for the position, and insiders say that he has narrowed it to three people: Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Raymond Kethledge.

Here’s what you need to know about each of these justices.

Amy Coney Barrett:

Barrett has served on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals since November of 2017. Prior to this, she was a professor at Notre Dame Law School. She clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

She received a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes College (BA) and received a JD from Notre Dame Law School.

Barrett and her husband Jesse have seven children, including two adopted from Haiti, and one with special needs. She is a Catholic, and is reportedly a member of People of Praise, a charismatic ecumenical group. Her father is a Catholic deacon.

Concerns of anti-Catholic bigotry were raised during her appeals court nomination hearing, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told her that “the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.” If she is nominated, she will likely face opposition from Senate Democrats over her pro-life stance and the common presumption that she would be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that found a right to an abortion throughout a pregnancy.

Barrett said in 2016 that she could envision abortion rights changing in the United States, according to the New York Times. She said in her 2017 confirmation hearings that she would “have no interest” in challenging the Roe v. Wade decision.

Her limited judicial experience on the bench may work against her, although other justices with less experience have been appointed in the past. Given the advanced age of two of the other Supreme Court justices (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and Justice Stephen Breyer will turn 80 in August), as well as her relative young age of 46, it’s entirely possible Trump may save her for another potential appointment once she has more experience.

Brett Kavanaugh:

Kavanaugh has served on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals since 2006. Prior to that, he was a secretary in the George W. Bush administration. He clerked for the recently-retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University, and is married to his wife, Ashley. He is Catholic and graduated from the Jesuit high school Georgetown Preparatory School.

On abortion, not much is known regarding his personal views. Kavanaugh recently wrote a decision that prevented a pregnant undocumented minor in federal custody from receiving an abortion. The decision was overturned by another court.

Kavanaugh has written dissents in the past opposing undocumented persons voting in union elections and was opposed to expanding visas to foreign workers when there were Americans who could do the job.

His 2015 ruling on the HHS contraception mandate was met with a mixed response. While he sided with Priests for Life in their case against the Obama administration, he appeared to acknowledge a “compelling” interest in the availability of government-provided contraception, which had previously been recognized by members of the Supreme Court.

In a case involving the Washington Metro’s prohibition on religious-themed advertisements, including an ad by the Archdiocese of Washington, Kavanaugh was “unrelenting” in his questioning of the Metro’s lawyer, saying that he believed the prohibition was “discriminatory.”

Raymond Kethledge:

Kethledge has been on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals since 2008. He, like Kavanaugh, is a former Kennedy clerk.

He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan. Kethledge and his wife, Jessica, have two children. He is an Evangelical Christian.

Kethledge has not said much publicly on abortion, but he served as Judiciary Committee counsel for a pro-life senator who was seeking to ban certain types of abortion.

Out of the three reported finalists, Kethledge has a mixed record on immigration that may upset some conservatives. In the past, he has sided with undocumented immigrants and has blocked deportations, but he has also ruled in favor of the government in other cases. He’s described as a judicial “textualist.”

His rulings on religious liberty are limited. In one 2018 case, he sided with a church-owned restaurant and its volunteers against the Labor Department’s wage requirements. He has, however, ruled in many free speech cases, and generally supported free speech. One notable exception was when he ruled against a legal challenge to a law that banned strip clubs in a city’s downtown.

President Trump is expected to announce his pick Monday evening from the White House. Senate hearings are expected to begin shortly thereafter.

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  1. The unfortunate situation is that Trump is so ill equipped to do the vetting of powerful SCOTUS candidates. He’s not a lawyer, he calls himself right- to-life which is questionable, he doesn’t read, even the daily briefing and his history as a con artist should force hi to recuse himself.

    • “He’s not a lawyer…”

      For many people, including myself, this is likely more of a positive than a negative.

      • Carl, I am having trouble with your defense of the indefensible. Trump begins with some 30 names of judges who were mostly qualified. It seems as that number goes down the ideological heat goes up with what looks like a single issue, abortion.

        The Catholic Church is continuing to send mixed messages regarding their position on a “woman’s right”. Parishioners remain in a quandary. Should Roe be criminalized? Most say no… if the government criminalizes Roe it will be a detriment to women and especially poor women. Back alley abortions will return. If the court casts the “problem” to the states it will create a patchwork approach. If they “modify” Roe to retain only the three exceptions, who will manage that? I don’t dare to bring abortion rights up to my wife.

        • And I’m having trouble with your cliched, confused responses to simple statements. But, a few quick points:

          1) If you think that recognizing the fact that abortion is the killing of an unborn child is “ideological”, then you have only exposed yourself as the real ideologue, as ideology is simply choosing an idea (“woman’s right”) over reality (the murder of a innocent person).

          2) The Church teaches that abortion is an objective evil. The Catechism states, for example: “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.” That is not a “mixed message”. But, to be fair, there are plenty of Catholics who oppose the perennial and consistent (and logical) teaching of the Church in this matter. No one has the right to take an innocent life. Thus, a woman’s “right” to abortion is not a right, but a license to murder. (This is separate from the matter of culpability, which can vary depending on many factors).

          3) “Roe v Wade” should be overturned because it is a) bad law, b) illogical, and c) promotes evil.

          4) What is a “patchwork approach”? Some folks would call it federalism, which actually has some basis in U.S. history and law, not to mention her founding.

          5) “Who will manage that”? Probably the courts and legal authorities. I’m not a legal expert, but I do think there are laws that have exceptions, qualifiers, and such.

          6) “I don’t dare to bring abortion rights up to my wife.” If you love your wife, as I’m sure you do, you should also love truth, especially re: the nature of life and death.

        • “The Catholic Church is continuing to send mixed messages regarding their position on a “woman’s right”.”

          If you mean a “woman’s right” to kill her baby (and nobody has a right to do wrong), no the Church has not sent mixed messages. Every authoritative statement has stated that it is wrong. There are some disobedient and vile theologians and clerics who have said otherwise, but if you are choosing to listen to people whom you know to be rejecting Church teaching, you’re the one submitting yourself willingly to confusion.

          “Should Roe be criminalized?”

          Roe v. Wade is a court case. It can’t be criminalized. It can be, and should be, overturned.

          “Most say no… ”

          Most who? You could do a poll that says most of group say living in sin is just fine. That wouldn’t make it right.

          “if the government criminalizes Roe it will be a detriment to women and especially poor women.”

          If by “criminalizes Roe” you mean bans abortion again – at least half of the babies aborted are female. Abortion is a lot more detrimental to those baby women than banning abortion is to those women who seek it.

          “Back alley abortions will return.”

          When abortion was illegal and “back alley abortions” prevailed, there were far fewer abortions. Making abortion “safer” simply meant making abortion easier to obtain, which means that the death rate wen’t skyrocketing.

          “If the court casts the “problem” to the states it will create a patchwork approach.”

          As opposed to having a handful of unelected judges come up with ridiculous statements about penumbras and emanations to make up their own laws.

          “If they “modify” Roe to retain only the three exceptions, who will manage that?”

          Whoever the relevant laws say will manage it.

          “I don’t dare to bring abortion rights up to my wife.”

          I hope you’re doing an injustice to your wife in assuming that she cares nothing at all about the millions of babies who have been murdered because the only important thing is to be able to have consequence-free sexual intercourse. If not, her opinion is worthless.

  2. The problem that I see for both Kavanaugh and Kethledge is precisely that they clerked for Kennedy. I am fearful that he has infected them with his rot. Amy is the only logical choice for the court absent Mike Lee. Both are pure originalists in the mold of Scalia. It really doesn’t matter who President Trump picks. The satanists will attack without hesitation.

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