White House starts outreach to key senators on Supreme Court pick

The administration has not disclosed the identity of the nominee in its outreach to senators, but Trump’s choice is widely believed to be Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

The courtesy one-on-one meetings between a Supreme Court nominee and senators are a traditional fixture of the confirmation process. Depending on the senator, the visits range from quick photo ops to lengthy, in-depth discussions about a nominee’s judicial philosophy.

The outreach to Democratic senators, in particular, shows the White House wants at least the semblance of a bipartisan process at the start of what will surely be a deeply contentious nomination fight. It’s unclear whether some Democratic senators would boycott a courtesy visit with the nominee, as most GOP senators did with Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016.

Two other officials said aides to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have told Republican offices to start preparing for meetings with the eventual nominee. GOP leaders are privately aiming for a final confirmation vote just days before the Nov. 3 election, with confirmation hearings starting the week of Oct. 12. That timetable is subject to change.

The White House late Thursday night had no comment on the pending nominee visits.

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