Who is Brett Kavanaugh: President Trump nominates judge to Supreme Court

Howard TerryJul 12, 2018

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects the upper chamber to confirm President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, by fall.

The White House wants Kavanaugh to be in place by October 1, when the court's next term formally opens, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote to confirm Kennedy's successor in the fall.

Kavanaugh followed Trump by saying he was "humbled" by the nomination.

Kavanaugh, 53, is now a judge on the DC circuit court of appeals that has always been considered the second most powerful court in the country and a pool of reserves for justices to the Supreme Court. It's the same court that produced three current high court justices. He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton and worked in the White House during George W. Bush's presidency. "My judicial philosophy is straightforward: a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law".

All of Trump's top candidates were considered more solidly conservative than Kennedy.

The nominee will need at least 50 votes in the Senate, which Republicans now hold a slim advantage at 51 seats.

"Republicans are holding four lottery tickets, and all of them are winners", Graham said.

The Judicial Crisis Network is planning a $1.4 million ad buy in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia - states with moderate Democratic senators who could be pressured to vote for Trump's nominee.

Kavanaugh's nomination now heads to the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by a narrow, 51-to-49 seat GOP majority.

Meanwhile, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman said in a post on Twitter that some Republicans close to the White House had been contacted and told that Kethledge was not receiving the nomination.

Kennedy long served as the tie-breaking swing vote between the Supreme Court's conservatives and liberals, and his departure handed Trump an opportunity to place a decidedly conservative stamp on the bench. "The one person who would give him shield from anything that might come at him". Several of Judge Kavanaugh's most important ideas and arguments - such as his powerful defense of presidential authority to oversee federal bureaucrats and his skepticism about newfangled attacks on the property rights of criminal defendants - have found their way into Supreme Court opinions. His mother, Martha, became a Maryland state judge a quarter-century ago.

The new justice can be expected to cast crucial votes on other matters of national importance including gay rights, gun control, the death penalty and voting rights.

Trump a year ago appointed Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices, after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. While waiting, he's penned he has written almost 300 opinions and sent 41 of his law clerks to similar posts at the high court - far more than any of the other leading candidates for the nomination. As recently as previous year, he disregarded Supreme Court precedent and opposed the health care rights of a vulnerable young woman.

All are young enough that they could serve on the nine-member high court for decades. He released a list of judges he would consider for the court in 2016 and reiterated his use of that list after Kennedy's retirement.

Last year, Trump said he was drawn to his first appointee, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, because he had degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford.

The group had already signaled it was willing to spend big to support Trump's nominee, no matter who the President chose. Kennedy had been a Supreme Court Justice since 1988.

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said he was bracing for a tough confirmation battle as Democrats focus on abortion.

While serving on the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court Kavanaugh wrote multiple decisions seeking to reign in Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

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