Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh To Supreme Court

Trump Nominates Brett Kavanaugh To Supreme Court

President Trump plans to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

A Yale Law graduate, Kavanaugh started his career as associate counsel with Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor who investigated former President Bill Clinton's extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, helping draft the report recommending Clinton's impeachment.

In picking the 53-year-old Kavanaugh, Trump aimed to entrench conservative control of the court for years to come with his second lifetime appointment to the nation's highest judicial body in his first 18 months as president.

McConnell reportedly told Trump that Kavanaugh, a former assistant and staff secretary to former President George W. Bush, has an extensive paper trail that could help Democrats prolong the nomination process. He has written roughly 300 opinions as a judge, authored several law journal articles, regularly taught law school classes and spoken frequently in public.

After being announced as the nominee by Trump Monday, Kavanaugh said he would "keep an open mind in every case and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law".

The president has been lobbied in the final hours of his selection process by both supporters and opponents of the four candidates, all of whom are federal appeals court judges with conservative records.

Speaking at the White House, Kavanaugh pledged to preserve the Constitution and said that "a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law". Kennedy, a 1988 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, was the most unpredictable. He has a solidly conservative record as a judge in cases involving government regulation and the separation of powers, issues that are important to the groups supporting his candidacy.

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A year earlier, Senate Republicans had refused to hold confirmation hearings for then-President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, arguing that a replacement shouldn't be named during an election year. SCOTUSblog, which covers actions of the Supreme Court, said his opinions have shown an "originalist approach to the Second Amendment right to bear arms", and that he "has not weighed in directly on issues relating to abortion" - two hot-button issues.

Republican Senator John McCain, key to a Republican "yes" vote, endorsed the new nominee. Susan Collins said she wouldn't support a nominee hostile to the court's precedent in Roe v. Wade - and the conservative Barrett has expressed a willingness to reverse precedent she sees as wrongly decided. According to Politico, the Judicial Crisis Network is planning to run ads targeting Donnelly, North Dakota Senate Heidi Heitkamp, and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia to vote for Trump's pick.

The president has also spoken with confidence about how his Supreme Court pick will work out.

President Donald Trump announced Brett Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court nominee Monday night, in a primetime televised event. Trump says the new justice should have a great intellect and the right temperament.

This story is breaking and will be updated. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) told the president over the weekend that Hardiman and Kethledge would face the fewest obstacles to confirmation.

Trump's approach to naming a new Supreme Court justice has unnerved some Democrats. She said the Senate "should confirm his nomination without delay". Perhaps it will fire up Democrats to embark on the decades-long quest to remake the ideological balance of the court that the GOP has used to enthuse its grassroots voters and that Trump harnessed in 2016.

Recent developments underline the shrewdness of Trump's campaign team, which published a list of potential court nominees with stellar conservative credentials before he faced off against Hillary Clinton.

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