Trump to Announce His Supreme Court Nominee Tonight

President Donald Trump listens as Judge Brett Kavanaugh his Supreme Court nominee speaks in the East Room of the White House Monday

A group of Democratic senators from Republican-leaning states - lawmakers who could be pivotal in the confirmation fight - declined Trump's invitation to attend the White House announcement.

A Democratic senator from Hawaii is leaving open the possibility of voting for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee despite widespread calls for an automatic "no" vote from her party.

A ferocious confirmation battle with Democrats is expected as the president seeks to shift the nation's highest court further to the right.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from Washington, DC.

Trump is hoping to replicate his successful nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch previous year.

On the issues, Kavanaugh seems to tick numerous boxes of interest to Trump, who included him on a list of potential Supreme Court picks published by the White House in November 2017. "This is a huge win for President Trump", Dr. Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, said in a statement. "And I believe this person will do a great job", Trump said. He was said to be the leading contender in the days after Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement.

This time, the Republicans have a simple majority in the Senate (51 votes needed), but in an election year anything can happen.

And with that, Thomas Hardiman - the judge who Trump passed over last year to install Neil Gorsuch to the seat once held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia last year - was back in play. Hardiman, who lives in Pennsylvania, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, where he served at one time with Trump's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.

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Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal appeals judge last fall - excited social conservatives with her testimony when questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings a year ago.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to slam far-left criticism of Mr. Trump's picks, saying no matter who is selected, the nominee will face "unfair tactics" in the confirmation process. As an appeals court judge, Kethledge authored several notable opinions, including one that upheld the death penalty against a suspect who murdered a woman on federal land and a case in OH that questioned whether private citizens can sue the state for failing to enforce pollution controls. The White House hoped to keep the details under wraps until he rolls out his pick from the East Room.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a key Republican vote, was also invited to the White House but is not going, she said Monday.

"Bob Casey's opposition to President Trump's nominee before he or she has even been named shows he has given up any pretense of being a moderate voice", said NRSC Spokesman Bob Salera.

As promised, Trump made his pick from a list of more than two dozen potential nominees drawn up with the help from conservative legal activists at The Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation.

"I look forward to conducting a thorough and objective review of Judge Kavanaugh's nomination over the coming weeks, and I am hopeful that my colleagues will give him the same courtesy", said Young.

In October of past year, Kavanaugh was part of the D.C. Court of appeals that ultimately ruled on an immigrant girl's right to have an abortion while she was in USA custody. Once that happened, I think that the Supreme Court was diminished for decades to come.

Kethledge, a former Kennedy law clerk, has sat on the 6th Circuit since 2008 after being nominated by George W. Bush.

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