Politics

Trump names top aides to oversee Supreme Court confirmation process

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Key Points
  • White House counsel Don McGahn will oversee President Donald Trump's selection of a nominee, and the overall confirmation process.
  • Raj Shah, principal deputy press secretary, will take leave from his regular press duties to oversee "communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies" full time.
  • Trump has said he plans to announce his Supreme Court nominee July 9.
Don McGahn, attorney and U.S. Federal Election Commission member, arrives in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York U.S., on Monday, Jan. 8, 2017.
Albin Lohr-Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The White House on Monday announced that some experienced aides have been tapped to lead the process of nominating and confirming a justice to the Supreme Court to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy, who last week announced his intent to retire.

White House counsel Don McGahn will oversee President Donald Trump's selection of a nominee, and the overall confirmation process, reprising the role McGahn played during the 2017 confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Raj Shah, principal deputy press secretary, will take leave from his regular press duties to oversee "communications, strategy and messaging coordination with Capitol Hill allies" full time, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Monday.

Shah is an experienced Republican political operative, having led the Republican National Committee's opposition research efforts during the 2016 presidential election. Shah is one of the few White House aides still working there who arrived with former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus in January 2017.

While Shah oversees the effort to get Trump's nominee confirmed by the Senate, Justin Clark, another key aide will oversee White House outreach and coordination with outside groups that represent key constituencies.

Clark currently serves as director of the Office of Public Liaison, where he leads a staff of around 30. The office's mission is to coordinate White House initiatives with like-minded groups.

One group in particular is expected to play an outsized role in both the selection and the confirmation process for the next Supreme Court justice: The Federalist Society, a nonprofit, conservative judicial advocacy group which helped Trump draft his first list of potential judicial nominees in 2016.

In addition to McGahn, Shah and Clark, the White House said, "Teams of attorneys from the White House Counsel’s Office and Department of Justice are working to ensure the President has all the information he needs to choose his nominee. The Department of Justice is fully engaged to support the nomination and confirmation efforts."

Trump has said he plans to announce his Supreme Court nominee July 9. The White House and the Republican-controlled Senate have both signaled they hope to confirm a new justice before the midterm elections in November.