He did not reveal his short list. but he is believed to be considering three men and one woman, all of whom have strong conservative credentials.
Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh - a longtime judge and former clerk for Justice Kennedy - questioning his commitment to social issues like abortion and noting his time serving under President George W. Bush as evidence he is a more establishment choice.
A confirmation of Mr. Trump's nominee could give conservatives a reliable, long-term majority on the highest court.
But with mere hours left to go before his self-imposed deadline, Trump, who has been consulting with family, friends and advisers this weekend while in Bedminster, New Jersey, has reportedly yet to make a final decision.
"Trump will never be elected president of the United States", said former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Senate Republicans hold only a 51-49 majority, leaving them hardly any margin if Democrats hold the line.
Trump tweeted later Sunday that he was looking forward to the announcement and said an "exceptional person will be chosen!" In a recent case involving abortion and immigration, he wrote a decision that temporarily barred a pregnant teenager in immigration custody from obtaining an abortion.
Democrats have little leverage as they try to halt the nomination - though the court's rightward lurch could stoke liberal turnout in the midterm elections in which the House of Representatives is in play.
Leo said Hardiman of Pennsylvania and Kethledge of MI are "a little bit less known by conservatives". Both Kavanaugh and Kethledge are former law clerks to retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Without Republican defections, however, Senate rules leave Democrats with scant options to block confirmation of Trump's nominee. For example, on the campaign trail, Trump promised his base that if he was elected he would appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal judge last fall - excited social conservatives since she was questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings a year ago, but her brief time on the bench has raised questions about her experience. But there are red state Senate Democrats who are up for re-election in November like Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of WV and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.
"I'm open to voting yes". "It's important to have people who are extremely well known and have distinguished records".
"I'm very confident with this president's enthusiasm and with Leader McConnell's enthusiasm that they can get anybody confirmed", Mr. Leo said on ABC's "This Week".