The White House is declining to name the four candidates who interviewed Monday with President Donald Trump for the Supreme Court vacancy.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a briefing at 3:45 p.m. EDT today. Watch her remarks in the player above.
Spokeswoman 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 reiterated 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. Kennedy has been a swing vote on several issues on the nine-member court. The president says he also plans on meeting with two to three more as he works toward a decision “over the next few days.”
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.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to rally public opposition to any Supreme Court nominee by 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.
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 Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court in the closely divided Senate.
Associated Press reporters Mark Sherman, Alan Fram and Hope Yen contributed.