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Washington — U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Raymond M. Kethledge of Michigan has emerged as among the leading choices for President Donald Trump to pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, according to news reports.

The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post this week named Kethledge, of the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit, among the top contenders for the seat on the high court left empty by the death a year ago of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.

Asked about Trump’s short list Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that, to his knowledge, the president had not narrowed down his choices.

“The president has not whittled it down – at least not to the extent that he’s willing to share with us,” Spicer told reporters Wednesday. “Maybe in his mind, he’s got that going. He’s going through the process.”

Kethledge was on the list of 21 individuals that Trump said during his campaign that he would consider, along with Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. and Justice Joan Larsen.

Kethledge, 50, joined the federal appeals court in 2008 after his appointment by President George W. Bush. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1993 and worked in the U.S. Senate as counsel to Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Auburn Hills, on the Judiciary Committee, before clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kethledge’s private practice included stints at the Detroit firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn and as counsel to Ford Motor Co. He later co-founded the firm Bush Seyferth Kethledge and Paige in Troy, where his clients included DaimlerChrysler Corp. and Genworth Financial.

Kethledge’s nomination to the 6th Circuit was opposed by Michigan’s two Democratic senators, but he was confirmed in 2008 as a result of a compromise in the Senate.

Democrats have argued Scalia’s seat should have been filled by former President Barack Obama, who nominated U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland. Republicans refused to hold hearings for Garland, arguing the next president should fill the high court vacancy.

Trump tweeted Wednesday that he intends on Feb. 2 to announce his court pick.

mburke@detroitnews.com

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