Trump has decided his Supreme Court nominee as parties prepare for fight

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President Trump's four frontrunners to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy are excellent choices, despite some Republicans' concerns over ease of confirmation, according to Ed Whelan, a former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia. The White House hoped to keep the details under wraps until he rolls out his pick from the East Room.

Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal judge last fall - excited social conservatives since she was questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings past year, but her brief time on the bench has raised questions about her experience. Without Republican defections, however, Senate rules leave Democrats with scant options to block confirmation of Trump's nominee. In addition, she is the youngest of the leading candidates, and Trump has said he wants his nominee to serve for decades.

"There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving", said Trump, who called Kavanaugh "one of the sharpest legal minds of our time".

With reality television-style suspense, he had kept everyone guessing up until the last moment.

Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh - a longtime judge and former clerk for Justice 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.

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Hardiman has a personal connection to the president, having served with Trump's sister on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Throughout this process I have witnessed firsthand your appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary.

"I am grateful to you and I am humbled by your confidence in me".

Raymond Kethledge is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit who has been dubbed "Gorsuch 2.0". He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton, worked on behalf of George W. Bush's campaign during the election recount in 2000 and served in the Bush White House.

Many reports have circulated that the decision is down to Hardiman and judge Brett Kavanaugh. Since 2006, he has been a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington.

His appointment will not change the ideological tilt of a court that already has a 5-4 conservative majority, but he could nevertheless shift the bench further right. But Judge Kavanaugh may not be so accommodating.

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"We have ample examples from the past several years of judges who have sworn in their confirmation hearings to respect precedent, and then reverse their stand once on the court", Schumer said on the Senate floor Monday, arguing that Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch violated the precedents they said they would adhere to.

The front-runner was a front-runner for a reason.

Kavanaugh's family was present when Trump made the announcement.

He is the kind of judge a President Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney would have picked - a man with an established legal pedigree and a reputation as a reliably conservative jurist. The new justice has the potential to entrench conservative control of the Supreme Court for years to come.

Trump's approach to naming a new Supreme Court justice has unnerved some Democrats.

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