Starting from a list of 25 names vetted by conservative groups, Trump has also given serious consideration to federal appeals court judges Amul Thapar and Joan Larsen, and it's possible the White House will prepare materials on more people.
"I'll have a decision made in my mind by Sunday", the president also said.
This past week Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos* noted that the US Supreme Court has already ruled on the legality of affirmative action, thus making the Obama guidelines "unnecessary".
Carrie Severino, the chief counsel and policy director at the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, says, "It's something that's viewed across the Republican and libertarian base as a huge accomplishment".
"Most presidents are forced to gamble on a nominee they do not truly know - someone who has spent a lifetime outside the public eye", he wrote. Like four of the five Christians on the court, Barrett is a Roman Catholic. Kethledge and Kavanaugh both clerked for Kennedy; Barrett was a law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who was replaced by the Trump-nominated Neil Gorsuch previous year.
LAT: So Judge Kethledge is a judge of the 6th Circuit.
Amy Coney Barrett is emerging as a strong contender. The New Yorker has preferred to take a hands-off approach to his moderate members, rather than twisting arms on big votes.
National groups have entered the fray.
Indeed, Lee even criticized Trump in June 2016 in a rant that cited his anger at Trump's attacks on "my best friend's father" as part of the reason why he was reluctant to back the then-reality TV star's presidential bid. "They are shaped by love of Holy Scripture, prayer and community; and the Church's mission is richer for their presence". At first, the Michigan Supreme Court justice thought something bad must have happened.
"If chosen as the nominee, she will be the deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and to strike down pre-existing conditions protections in the ACA", he said.
The American Family Association spoke for many conservatives when they sent a letter to President trump saying, "we prayerfully, strongly, and humbly implore you to select the nominee with a demonstrably constitutional judicial philosophy and a verifiably strong will against political pressure..." The interviews comprised seven conversations - Trump talked to one candidate twice. If confirmed, she would be the fifth woman to join the court and one of four now on the court.
On a call with associates on Monday, Cruz warned that Kavanaugh is the sort of "unreliable" jurist by whom Republicans have been disappointed in the past, and he has worked to bolster the prospects of his colleague, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is another Republican who has supported abortion. Republicans control the chamber 51-49, but Sen. "The stakes couldn't be higher, we cannot allow our daughters and granddaughters to have few rights than we do", said Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of IL.
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.
With Mr. Trump's announcement coming Monday, some conservatives are taking aim at Judge Kavanaugh, of the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, for rulings on abortion and Obamacare.