18:12, June 29 264 0 theguardian.com

2018-06-29 18:12:08
Trump to announce supreme court pick on 9 July

Donald Trump said on Friday he plans to announce his nominee for a forthcoming vacancy on the supreme court on 9 July – a lightning-quick move to replace the retiring swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81.

Speaking aboard Air Force One en route to his private golf club in New Jersey on Friday afternoon, the president announced that he has five finalists, including two women, out of the shortlist of 25 names that had been previously circulated.

Speaking to reporters on the plane from Washington DC, Trump said he may interview two contenders for the nomination this weekend in New Jersey.

Anthony Kennedy announced on Wednesday that he would retire, confirming rumbling speculation shortly after the supreme court ruled in favor of Trump’s controversial travel ban on a group of Muslim-majority countries.

Democrats had argued that any nomination should be delayed until after the midterm elections in November. But the Republicans are in the driving seat on the decision, with a majority grip on the Senate, the body that confirms the judge, as well as their person in the White House.

The shortlist comprises 25 names of judges who are known for their conservatism, even to the point of being called rightwing ideologues by some Democratic lawmakers.

Democrats have little chance of blocking Trump’s pick, while experts have warned that legal abortion, workers’ and others’ rights and even democracy itself are at stake.