Sen. Graham will make announcement on confirmation hearings after SCOTUS nominee is picked

Sen. Graham will make announcement on confirmation hearings after SCOTUS nominee is picked
Amy Coney Barrett speaks in May 2018 at the University of Notre Dame's Law School commencement ceremony in South Bend, Indiana.
Amy Coney Barrett speaks in May 2018 at the University of Notre Dame’s Law School commencement ceremony in South Bend, Indiana. Robert Franklin/The South Bend Tribune/AP

Judge Amy Coney Barrett has emerged as President Donald Trump’s overwhelming favorite to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to several people familiar with the deliberations, who say the President’s view was solidified during a lengthy meeting at the White House on Monday.

Trump has not finalized his decision, and with days to go until he announces his pick at the end of the week, his thinking could change. 

But for now, Barrett — currently sitting on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago — is his clear front-runner and is viewed inside the White House as the likely nominee.

Officials said Trump seemed very enthusiastic about Barrett after their meeting, which lasted for several hours. He told people afterward he believes Barrett will be very well received by “his people,” one official said. While no one close to the process would go so far as to say Barrett is the pick, Trump is giving people the impression he is completely sold on her.

Judge Barbara Lagoa remains on the list but multiple people familiar with the matter tell CNN that Trump is fading on her.  While Trump was initially enthused at the prospect of nominating a Cuban-American from Florida, a critical electoral battleground, Lagoa hasn’t been previously vetted for the Supreme Court and some advisers suggested it would be a heavy lift to clear a new name quickly. The White House may still schedule a meeting with Lagoa, but two sources said her chances have dimmed significantly since the weekend.

On Monday, Trump initially said he was considering five names for the high court vacancy before adding he was really focused only on “one or two” names.

Others on the list — including federal appeals court judges Joan Larsen and Allison Jones Rushing, and deputy White House counsel Kate Todd — are not considered serious contenders, particularly after it was learned inside the White House that Larsen volunteered for Joe Biden’s 1987 presidential campaign.

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