Judge Raymond Kethledge’s interview with President Donald Trump has placed him in serious contention to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, multiple sources tell The News Guru.
Sources with knowledge of the process told TheDCNF that Kethledge had a strong interview with the president, and remains under very serious consideration.
Other knowledgeable sources say Judge Amy Barrett’s interview with Trump was satisfactory and that she remains viable for a Supreme Court appointment, either now or in the future. The strength of Kethledge’s meeting, however, seems to have scrambled the field.
Bloomberg also reported that Trump was impressed with Kethledge.
The fluidity of the process has prompted an intense shadow campaign, as surrogates lobby and spin aggressively for their preferred candidate. Conservative legal Washington has splintered into competing camps, all of whom are racing to gain Trump’s ear.
The situation resembles Chief Justice John Roberts’ appointment to the Supreme Court, in which professional conservatives splintered between frontrunners J. Harvie Wilkinson and Michael Luttig, as Jan Crawford’s 2007 account of Bush-era confirmations reported.
Sources familiar with the president’s thinking say he has seen a deluge of pressure from all camps but maintains an open mind.
Kethledge was interviewed for the last vacancy on the Supreme Court. A source with knowledge of the previous confirmation process said Kethledge was asked which of the other candidates under consideration he would recommend to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Kethledge made an extended and forceful case for then-Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was selected for the seat.
At 51, Kethledge could serve on the Court for decades. He was elevated to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush in 2008. Before his appointment, he worked for GOP Sen. Spencer Abraham, served as in-house counsel at the Ford Motor Co. and spent several years in private practice. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School who clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy.
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