The nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will be announced on July 9, President Trump said on Friday.
Trump, who is in New Jersey for the weekend, said he plans to interview one or two candidates on Saturday or Sunday before announcing his nominee after the Fourth of July.
“I’ve got it narrowed to about five,” he said, including two women. The president said he didn’t plan to probe any potential replacements about Roe v. Wade.
“I’m not going to ask them that question.”
Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring, effective July 31, giving the president the opportunity to make a second pick for the Supreme Court.
The decision comes a year after Kennedy's former law clerk, Neil Gorsuch, took over the seat occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
While speaking to reporters inflight to Morristown, New Jersey on Friday afternoon, Trump mentioned Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah. “He said he’d like the job," Trump noted. "Usually they don’t say that.”
Lee and his brother, Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee, are both on the list to replace Kennedy – setting up a sibling showdown over who could get the nod.
With Kennedy's departure, Republicans have a chance to tip the balance of the court. It already has four justices picked by Democratic presidents and four picked by Republicans, so Trump's pick could shift the ideological balance toward conservatives for years to come.
Fox News’ Matt Leach, Bill Mears, Shannon Bream and Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.