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Conservatives line up behind possible Trump Supreme Court finalists

President Trump's pick to replace long-time swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy could end up shifting the Supreme Court's ideological tilt for years to come. The starting point was a shortlist with the names of 25 potential nominees, but most news reports have focused on three: Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Late today, Jenna Hager Bush defended her grandfather's thousand points of light phrase to highlight community volunteer programs.

    She tweeted, "A point of light was a vision about serving others, one that lit up our country, one I hope our country hasn't lost."

    At the rally, President Trump also briefly mentioned his search for the nation's next Supreme Court justice.

    His pick could end up shifting the court's ideological tilt for years to come. The starting point was a short list with the names of 25 potential nominees. But most news reports of late have focused on these three, 53-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington; 51-year-old Raymond Kethledge from the appeals court based in Cincinnati; and 46-year-old Amy Coney Barrett from the appeals court in Chicago.

    Some conservatives have taken sides, like in these opinion columns lining up behind their favorite finalists. Some social conservatives, in boosting Barrett, have raised doubts about Kavanaugh's commitment to their cause, spurring others to defend Kavanaugh's conservative judicial record.

  • Brett Kavanaugh:

    I have dedicated my career to public service.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Kavanaugh's lengthy Washington resume includes a stint working in President George W. Bush's White House. Mr. Bush nominated Kavanaugh to his current judgeship more than a decade ago, and it was Justice Kennedy, a former boss of Kavanaugh's, who did the swearing-in.

    Kennedy clerk, Bush nominee, and experienced judge, those are all labels that fit Kethledge as well. But most of his legal career has been in Michigan and at the appeals court in Ohio. Barrett clerked for a different justice, the conservative icon Antonin Scalia.

    She was a Notre Dame law professor up until last year, when President Trump nominated her to the federal bench. At her confirmation hearing, the Catholic Barrett was sharply questioned by Senator Dianne Feinstein about her views on religion.

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.:

    I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different. When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you.

  • Amy Coney Barrett:

    As I said to the committee, I would faithfully apply all Supreme Court precedent.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Social conservatives rallied behind Barrett after that exchange, as they are now, while the president considers his options.

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