U.S. President Donald Trump says he met Monday with four candidates for the Supreme Court and plans to meet with two to three more as he seeks to nominate a replacement to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Trump told reporters in Washington Monday that the candidates he met with are "incredible people in so many different ways, academically and in every other way."
White House Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump met with each candidate for roughly 45 minutes on Monday. She did not reveal the names of the candidates but said Trump is looking for someone who will uphold the U.S. Constitution and who has the "right intellect" and "right temperament."
When asked if Trump is looking for a candidate that will overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling on abortion, Sanders reiterated Trump's stance that he is not asking the candidates their views on abortion rights.
"The president is pro-life, but in terms of the process of selecting a Supreme Court nominee, as the president said last week, he is not going to discuss specific cases with the nominees," Sanders said.
Trump said Friday that he thinks the topic of Roe v. Wade is “inappropriate to discuss.”
Trump has also said that his final list of potential Supreme Court nominees includes two women and that he will choose a candidate by July 9.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote in an opinion column in The New York Times that people should pressure senators to oppose Supreme Court nominees who would overturn abortion rights. Schumer argued that while Democrats are outnumbered in the narrowly divided Senate, most senators support abortion rights.
A new poll Monday shows that 63 percent of American voters agree with the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide. Thirty-one percent of Americans disagree with the ruling, according to the Quinnipiac University National Poll.
The survey also found that 50 percent of Americans think the Supreme Court is mainly motivated by politics, while 42 percent think it is primarily motivated by law. The survey was based on telephone answers from 1,020 voters nationwide from June 27-July 1.
The retirement of Justice Kennedy, the key swing vote on the U.S. Supreme Court, gives Trump a coveted opportunity make a second appointment to the nation’s highest court.
Trump nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch in January 2017. The president said last week that is looking for another justice who closely models Gorsuch, saying he has been an “outstanding” justice for the Supreme Court.