President Donald Trump said Friday he will nominate a new Supreme Court justice on July 9, and that his list of five to seven finalists includes two women.
Trump did not identify the finalists for the slot being vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, and said he would interview "one or two" of them during his weekend stay at his golf club in Bedminister, N.J.
“We have great people ... highly talented, brilliant, mostly conservative judges," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to New Jersey.
While Trump said at one point that “I’ve got it narrowed to about five.” He also said he would "probably interview six or seven" candidates all together.
"I'll be announcing it the Monday after the Fourth of July," Trump said.
In interviewing candidates, Trump said he would not discuss whether they would reverse the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision.
“I’m not going to ask them that question," Trump said.
July 9, the proposed announcement date, is one day before Trump is scheduled to leave on a trip to Europe.
Many White House allies see Brett Kavanaugh as the favorite to replace Kennedy. The 53-year-old appeals court judge is a former clerk for Kennedy.
White House aides said other names are in the mix as well.
They include judges Amy Coney Barrett, 46, the most talked-about woman on the list; Thomas Hardiman, 52, the runner-up to Gorsuch last year; Raymond Kethledge, 51, another former Kennedy clerk; and Amul Thapar, 49, a favorite of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Trump did mention another potential candidate, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.
"He's an outstanding talent," he said. "I actually saw him on television last night, where he said he would love the job. You know, usually, they don't say that. We've become good friends...very good guy, very talented, very smart."