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President Trump and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2017.

Trump's interviews may begin as early as this weekend in New Jersey.

When asked is issues affecting women are the "most important" for 2018 candidates to discuss, almost half (48 percent) said they are "very important but not the most important issue".

"I think sometimes we talk about Supreme Court too much in abstractions, about dignity and who is qualified and who is not".

Kennedy, who was nominated to the bench by President Ronald Reagan, earned praise from both parties for the weight he put on the rights to privacy, dignity and freedom of speech.

Once again, Trump will draw this time from a list of 25 prospective candidates that was first established during the campaign and updated last fall, with advice from Leo and other conservatives.

"The left is going to try very hard to say this is all about overturning Roe", said Johnnie Moore, a Southern Baptist minister who was a co-chairman of the Trump campaign's evangelical advisory board.

Brett Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old US Circuit judge, is widely reported to be the front-runner. Trump will announce his pick to replace Kennedy on July 9. He said the White House has hosted roughly two dozen similar meetings since then in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. She said the group spent $10 million supporting the Gorsuch confirmation.

It guarantees an even stronger and more enthusiastic link between white evangelicals and Trump, shoring up a formidable partnership for the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential race. Mike Lee, R-Utah, indicating that Lee was pining for the nomination.

Trump could be reluctant to take Lee out of the Senate because of past experience. "I love that issue if they're going to actually do that".

Manchin says he's "pro-life, but I know how that divides our country immediately, divides everyone". And the Trump White House, while disorganized in other areas, made its relationship with the religious right a priority.

The person Trump picks for the seat is nearly certainly going to be more conservative than Kennedy.

Carlos Barria / Reuters Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court spot stolen from Barack Obama by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell elated conservatives.

The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative political campaign organization, launched a seven-figure ad buy Wednesday, aimed at vulnerable Democrats, said chief counsel and policy director Carrie Severino.

"We'd be very happy if he'd pick any name on that list", said Severino.

Kennedy's announcement came after the close of the Supreme Court's latest term and was no surprise to court watchers. Trump relished the suspense of the final reveal, asking "So was that a surprise?"

"It is exciting though, right?" said Trump.

"Outside of war and peace, of course, the most important decision you make is the selection of a Supreme Court judge, if you get it".