Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh - a longtime judge and former clerk for Justice Kennedy - questioning his commitment to social issues like abortion and noting his time serving under President George W. Bush as evidence he is a more establishment choice. According to the New York Times, Trump "found him likable but comparatively tiresome".
"She has made clear - as she said to the president in person two weeks ago - that she considers fully vetting Supreme Court nominees one of the most important jobs of any USA senator, and she plans to fulfill that critical duty", the spokesperson added.
Trump promised Sunday to choose an "exceptional person" for the post, but some Democrats were already signalling blanket opposition. The White House said Monday that former Arizona Sen.
Attorney Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society, who is advising Trump on the process, said Blumenthal's remarks were "insulting and offensive". The president's interview with her was only about 30 minutes - shorter than with the others.
The Pittsburgh-based federal appeals judge was the runner up to Justice Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court nomination previous year. He is also a graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, so he has that Ivy League pedigree that President Trump is said to favor.
Recent developments underline the shrewdness of Trump's campaign team, which published a list of potential court nominees with stellar conservative credentials before he faced off against Hillary Clinton. "Barrett said she tends to agree "with those who say that a justice's duty is to the Constitution", rather than a precedent she thinks is clearly in conflict with it". He lost to Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of CT, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee that holds hearings on Supreme Court nominees, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that Trump has "outsourced" his decision to the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. Given Trump's known habit of leaning on family ties and valuing loyalty above all, that could be decisive. Susan Collins of ME, who has expressed disquiet about the nomination of a judge who might overturn Roe v. Wade.
New wildfires sweep through California, burning homes
Authorities estimate at least 20 homes have burned in a wildfire raging in the hills above Goleta in Santa Barbara County. Officials announced that much of the mandatory evacuation area will be reduced to a warning area on Saturday at 5 PM.
The White House said former Republican Senator Jon Kyl, now a Washington lobbyist, will help Trump's nominee navigate the Senate confirmation process.
So who's on the president's shortlist of nominees? "And I expect we will do that on sort of a normal timetable, a couple of months".
And it's significant because his choice is expected to swing the court towards the right.
Current justices range in age from Elena Kagan, 58, to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85.
And Democrats can not even be sure of holding their line against Trump's pick. The president has spent the days leading up to his announcement discussing the pros and cons of various contenders with aides and allies. But he had made his final decision, according to a person with knowledge of the president's thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly. Most political prognosticators say Democrats are looking at a good showing in this November's midterm elections.
Hardiman serves on the same court as Maryanne Barry Trump, which is based in Philadelphia.
"I suspect this is going to be a rough, tough, down in the dirt, ear-pulling, nose-biting fight", Kennedy said.
-With assistance from Greg Stohr, Laura Litvan and Ben Brody.