Trump says as many as seven candidates may be interviewed.
Already the confirmation process is becoming a debate about the future of abortion rights in America and whether the nominee would uphold the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and subsequent challenges that have upheld a woman's right to abortion access. "That's not a question I'll be asking", he replied, reports the AP. "Heidi will vote "no" for any pick we make for the Supreme Court", Trump said. CBS News correspondent Errol Barnett joins CBSN from New Jersey, where Mr. Trump is spending the weekend.
"He's an outstanding talent", Trump said of Lee. "As you know, there are many presidents who never get a choice", Trump said.
During an interview Friday on a West Virginia radio station, Manchin said he told the president the same about repealing the Affordable Care Act, saying "all that stuff is red flags for all Americans". Collins wasted no time following Kennedy's announcement to reiterate that she believes Roe v. Wade is "settled law", but a spokeswoman told the Portland Press Herald that Collins "does not apply ideological litmus tests to nominees".
Trump's rightward remaking of the court not only shows the very real consequences of his election but also is the culmination of more than 40 years of political organizing by the religious right.
The Democrats - Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of IN and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota - are running for re-election IN November IN states Trump won IN 2016. The White House said Trump's team also spoke with more than a dozen additional senators.
Trump got his first Supreme Court pick after McConnell led a Republican blockade against Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama's nominee to fill Scalia's seat.
Trump has moved quickly on his selection process.
Trump's statement that two women are included in his shortlist for the position may be meant to neutralize any plans by Democrats to stage an all-out war in the Senate.
"It is exciting though, right?" said Trump. He met Thursday with key Republican and Democratic senators at the White House in the evening to discuss the vacancy. The group has already produced a new TV advertisement calling Trump's list of 25 potential candidates the "best of the best" and warning that his opponents will lie and attack the nominee. Advisers within the administration include White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Republicans changed Senate rules past year to get Trump's conservative nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed, lowering the threshold to advance Supreme Court nominations to a simple majority vote.
Many White House allies see Brett Kavanaugh as the favorite to replace Kennedy.
In the run-up to selecting Gorsuch, Trump met with three contenders and White House officials vetted several more.
There are ten Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018 in states that Trump won in 2016.
One person on that list of names is Utah Sen.
If Trump is able to appoint a crucial fifth anti-woman justice to the Supreme Court, the fate of safe abortions for millions of women across the country will be jeopardized. "What we're seeing here is Gorsuch 2.0".
The road to confirmation for Trump's pick is likely to be a contentious one, as Democrats are expected to push back. And the White House is expressing optimism that some Democrats will ultimately come on board.
Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly of IN met with the president Thursday evening and reported afterward they had a productive conversation.