Few governmental parlor games obsess official Washington more than trying to determine the identity of an upcoming Supreme Court nominee, and the frenzy of speculation in the corridors of power over the past week has proven that this go-round will be no exception.
"I think it's questionable we should be considering a nominee from a president who has a history of demanding these loyalty tests and we could be responsible for participating in something that could undermine that investigation", Booker told the committee. Justin Clark, director of the Office of Public Liaison, will oversee White House coordination with outside groups.
Currently, there are 12 justices of the Supreme Court.
Trump's choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy - a swing vote on the nine-member court - has the potential to remake the court for a generation as part of precedent-shattering decisions on abortion, health care, gay marriage and other issues. But during his Senate confirmation hearing, he said he accepts Roe v. Wade as "the law of the land".
Amy Coney Barrett is emerging as a strong contender.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump met with four people for 45 minutes each Monday and will continue meetings through the rest of the week.
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Senators say they're concerned about how the nominees feel about Roe vs. Wade, the controversial Supreme Court case that made abortion legal in 1973. "You shouldn't do that.' But I'm putting conservative people on", Trump also said.
Conservative groups rallied around Barrett after her confirmation hearing past year featured questioning from Democrats over how her Roman Catholic faith would affect her decisions.
The White House also announced Monday that spokesman Raj Shah is taking a leave of absence from his position to work full time on overseeing the communications effort associated with the upcoming Supreme Court pick.
"This is a very different Supreme Court discussion because everyone in the Senate who is going to vote on this knows this could change the balance of power".
If Trump chooses a strongly anti-abortion nominee who favored overturning Roe v. Wade, Collins and Murkowski might withhold their support.