The issue has been overshadowed in recent days by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement and Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Cavanaugh to replace him on the Supreme Court.
While some Democrats promised a stern effort to block the 53-year-old Kavanaugh - who has served 12 years on the most influential US appeals court - Trump's fellow Republicans control the Senate by a narrow margin and can ensure confirmation if they avoid defections from their ranks. "In a nation with over 700 sitting federal judges, many of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, it is outrageous that President Trump will nominate from a list of just 25 dictated to him by the Heritage Foundation", Casey said in a statement Monday. Fox News was a close second to CBS a year ago when Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch in a similar prime-time show, but that was on a winter night when many CBS viewers were probably anticipating a new episode of "NCIS".
The appointment will not change the ideological breakdown of a court that already has a 5-4 conservative majority, but nevertheless could move the court to the right.
Kavanaugh has shown conservative credentials on social issues ranging from gun rights to abortion cases.
Top contenders had included federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman, as well as Kavanaugh, who is now a federal appellate judge in the District of Columbia. "Kavanaugh would use the Court as a tool to doom all women to that fate". With Kavanaugh a mere 53 years old, he could serve for a generation or more.
Anti-abortion groups quietly lobbied against Kavanaugh, pushing instead for another jurist on Trump's shortlist, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, ABC News reported in the run-up to Trump's announcement. "A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law", he said. And his judicial record demonstrates a firm understanding of the role of a judge in our Republic: "Setting aside personal views and political preferences in order to interpret our laws as they are written". He is a Catholic, and if confirmed by the Senate, he will be the fifth Catholic on the current Supreme Court.
Last October, he was on a panel of judges that issued an order preventing a 17-year-old illegal immigrant detained in Texas by USA authorities from immediately obtaining an abortion. They are hoping to persuade Republican Senate moderates to vote against Kavanaugh.
Republicans in the Senate need to be completely united on the pick, because of the delicate nature of their majority. Sen.
At the same time, Republicans are urging a half dozen Democratic senators, largely those who are up for re-election in Trump-won states, to back the president's choice.
Kennedy long served as the tie-breaking swing vote between the Supreme Court's conservatives and liberals, and his departure handed Trump an opportunity to place a decidedly conservative stamp on the bench.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who earlier in the day accused the "far left" of "scare tactics" to try to thwart the nomination, called Kavanaugh "a superb choice". The official said Trump decided on Kavanaugh because of his large body of jurisprudence cited by other courts, describing him as a judge that other judges read.
Terry, a longtime pro-life activist, led a handful of protesters outside the White House on Monday, who said they were there to call for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The reference was to a list of potential Supreme Court nominees that Trump revealed before the presidential election, which included both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. As a result, Democrats have accused Republicans of stealing a Supreme Court seat.
The conservative Judicial Crisis Network is set to launch a $1.4 million ad buy on behalf of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
JOB HISTORY: 2003-06: Staff secretary to President George W. Bush; 2001-03: White House counsel's office; 1999-2001, 1997-98: partner, Kirkland and Ellis law firm; 1998, 1994-97: associate counsel, Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr; 1993-94: law clerk, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy; 1992-93: Office of Solicitor General; 1991-92: law clerk, Judge Alex Kozinski; 1990-91: law clerk, Judge Walter Stapleton.