WASHINGTON â€“ President Donald Trump said he hadÂ interviewed four candidates on Monday to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and plans to meet with two or three more before he announces his decision on July 9.
Trump did not say who he interviewed, but administration officials have said his short list is led by two appeals court judges: Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
Other appeals court judges are also in the mix, they said, including RaymondÂ Kethledge, Amul Thapar, and ThomasÂ Hardiman.
Trump has said he will make his announcement July 9, a week from Monday.
Speaking with reporters shortly before hisÂ meeting with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Trump said he “had a very, very interesting morning” talking with potential Supreme Court justices.
More: From guns to gay rights, Justice Anthony Kennedy was the Supreme Court’s swing vote
More: The Bubble: Kennedy ensured legacy by retiring before midterms, conservatives say
The White House and outside conservative groups are organizing campaigns to support the nominee as he or she moves through the Senate confirmation process.
White House CounselÂ Don McGahn is heading up the overall selection process for the president, said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Also, Principal Deputy White House Press SecretaryÂ Raj Shah will temporarily shift his focus to overseeing communications strategy and messaging on the confirmation process.
Senate Democrats and left-leaning political groups, anticipating a pick who would shift the court farther to the right on issues such as abortion,Â are gearing up for a fight.
Their main targets are more moderate Republican senators who support the Roe vs. Wade abortion rights ruling that could be at risk if another Trump nominee joins the high court.
“President Trump has made clear that any Supreme Court nominee must be willing to overturn Roe,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate’s top Democrat. “But a conservative Supreme Court will not stop at overturning Roe, it will also eliminate a womanâ€™s right to privacy in making choices about her health care choices, including reproduction and contraception.”