Who is Supreme Court contender Brett Kavanaugh?

Clay Curtis
July 9, 2018

Donald Trump is poised to continue his remake of the U.S. Supreme Court, with a nomination to be announced Monday night that could solidify conservative jurisprudence for years.

President Trump has yet to make a final decision on his pick to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, but says he is "very close". NY time to name his choice.

The Commander-in-Chief said he was "looking forward" to unveiling his pick to join the Supreme Court Sunday evening, adding "an exceptional person will be chosen".

Appeals court Judge Thomas Hardiman was solidly in the mix as of Sunday after being first runner-up a year ago, said three people familiar with the process.

He signaled as much while boarding Air Force One Sunday, telling reporters, "I'll be deciding tonight or tomorrow sometime by 12 o'clock and we're all going to be meeting at 9 o'clock".

In a 2013 law review article, Kavanaugh wrote that after seeing firsthand the many hard duties that a president encounters, he thinks that presidents should operate free from the threat of civil suits, such as the sexual harassment suit that led to President Clinton's impeachment, and that presidents should also be free from criminal investigations.

Trump himself has indicated that his selection is down to four prospects: Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit; Raymond Kethledge, on the 6th Circuit; and Thomas Hardiman, on the 3rd Circuit.

Kavanaugh, 53, is said to be supported by White House Counsel Don McGahn, who's supervising the search. But there's one qualification that could prove a problem for the judge: his ties to the Bush family have reportedly raised Trump's suspicions.

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In this June 1, 2006 file photo, from left to right, President Bush, watches the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh as Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by U.S. Gorsuch, who worked at the Justice Department in 2005 and 2006, had a smaller set of executive branch documents for review.

On average, for Supreme Court nominees who have received hearings, the hearing occurred 39 days after the nomination was formally submitted, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Such comments are likely to raise a red flag to moderate Republican senators like Susan Collins, R-Maine, who have said they would not vote for a nominee who has expressed doubts about overturning precedents when it comes to abortion and other long-standing Supreme Court decisions.

While on the campaign trail, Trump said that if he gets to nominate one or two conservative justices, the court would "automatically" overturn Roe v. Wade.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said some Democrats could defect from the party.

"I'm very confident with this president's enthusiasm and with Leader [Mitch] McConnell's enthusiasm that they can get anybody confirmed", Leo told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" Sunday. "And I expect we'll do that on sort of a normal timetable of a couple of months".

The last-minute jockeying by lawmakers and other political stakeholders played right into the reality show-like gamesmanship surrounding President Trump's choice for Supreme Court nominee - right down to a blast from the past re-emerging on Trump's list of finalists.

Current justices range in age from Elena Kagan, 58, to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85.

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