Trump narrows Supreme Court short list, top 3 contenders emerge

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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks at a Salute to Service charity dinner in conjunction with the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., Tuesday, July 3, 2018. Trump celebrated active-duty service members and veterans during a military tribute Tuesday on the eve of Independence Day. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson)

President Donald Trump has narrowed his list of contenders to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to three serious candidates, a source familiar with the selection process told NBC News on Thursday.

Those candidates are appeals court judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett, the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said.

Kavanaugh, 53, and Kethledge, 51, are both former law clerks to Kennedy, as was Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, who succeeded Antonin Scalia. Kavanaugh, also a veteran of George W. Bush’s White House, currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

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