President Donald Trump watches as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte leaves the West Wing of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Latest: Trump interviews 4 Supreme Court candidates

July 02, 2018 - 9:52 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the Supreme Court (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump has interviewed four prospective Supreme Court justices and has plans to meet with a few more as his White House aggressively mobilizes to select a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Monday's interviews were with federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amul Thapar, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. That's according to a person with knowledge of the meetings who was not authorized to speak publicly about them.

Without naming them, Trump described his candidates as "really incredible people in so many different ways, academically and in every other way."

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump met with the candidates for 45 minutes each Monday and will continue meetings through the rest of the week.

Trump's big announcement is set for July 9.

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5:45 p.m.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski says the person who replaces Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court should be in the same mold as the retiring justice.

Speaking Monday at an Anchorage news conference, Murkowski noted Kennedy's pivotal role on the court. He has often served as a swing vote between the court's liberal and conservative justices.

President Donald Trump has said he will announce his nominee to the court on July 9. Abortion rights are seen as a litmus test for the next nominee.

Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins are moderate Republicans who support access to abortion services.

Collins has told CNN she couldn't support a nominee who "demonstrated hostility" toward Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that affirmed women's right to abortion.

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4:20 p.m.

The White House is declining to name the four candidates who interviewed Monday with President Donald Trump for the Supreme Court vacancy.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump is seeking a candidate who has "right intellect" and the "right temperament" and will uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Sanders wouldn't provide the names of the candidates who met with Trump or the two to three candidates expected to meet with the president later this week. She is reiterating that Trump does not intend to ask any of the candidates for their views on Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that affirmed women's right to abortion.

Trump says he will announce his choice to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9.

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2:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he met with four potential Supreme Court Justice candidates on Monday morning as he works to fill the spot vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Trump he says he plans to meet with two to three more as he works toward a decision "over the next few days."

Trump told reporters that the candidates he met with are "outstanding people and they are really incredible people in so many different ways, academically and in every other way." He spoke during an appearance with the prime minister of the Netherlands.

He has said he was homing in on up to seven candidates, including two women.

Trump plans to announce his pick on July 9 and is eyeing a list of 25 previously announced people.

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11:03 a.m.

The White House is getting its team in place for the confirmation process for President Donald Trump's next Supreme Court pick.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that White House Counsel Don McGahn will lead the overall process. He played the same role in the successful confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch last year.

Spokesman Raj Shah will take leave from his role in the press office to work full time on "communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies." And Justin Clark, the director of the Office of Public Liaison, will oversee White House coordination with outside groups.

Trump has said he will announce his nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy July 9.

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10:35 a.m.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to rally public opposition to any Supreme Court nominee by President Donald Trump who'd oppose abortion rights and expanded health care coverage.

The New York Democrat says this summer's retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy creates the most important high court vacancy "in our lifetimes."

Schumer says while Democrats are outnumbered in the narrowly divided Senate, most senators back abortion rights and the added coverage created by former President Barack Obama's health care law. He says both would be threatened by a conservative Trump nominee.

Schumer writes in an opinion column in Monday's New York Times that people should pressure senators to oppose nominees who'd overturn abortion rights and Obama's statute.

Kennedy has been a swing vote on several issues on the nine-member court.

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12:32 a.m.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she would oppose any nominee she believed would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

She would be a key vote on President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court in the closely divided Senate.

The White House is focusing on five to seven potential candidates to fill the vacancy of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote on the court. The Maine senator said Sunday that she would only back a judge who would show respect for settled law such as the 45-year-old Roe decision, which has long been anathema to conservatives.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, a key vote on President Donald Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, said Sunday she would oppose any nominee she believed would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

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