Watch Video Of Trump's Supreme Court Nomination

Clay Curtis
July 10, 2018

President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to join the US Supreme Court, setting the stage for a dramatic confirmation battle over a stalwart conservative who could shape the direction of the court for decades to come.

Judge Kavanaugh, 53, has been nominated to replace long-serving conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement in June at the age of 81. But he did make his pick, according to a person who was not authorized to speak publicly and commented only on condition of anonymity.

While the president has been pondering his pick, aides have been preparing for a tough confirmation fight.

The White House said former Republican Senator Jon Kyl, now a Washington lobbyist, will help Trump's nominee navigate the Senate confirmation process.

The Arizonan served in the upper chamber for three terms, from 1995 to 2013, and spent many years on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings and then vote on whether to advance the nominee to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. He works for the Washington-based lobbying firm Covington & Burling. Relishing the suspense, Trump insisted he still hadn't locked down his decision, which he wants to keep under wraps until a 9 p.m. Monday announcement from the White House.

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If approved by the Senate, he would become the fifth conservative justice on the nation's highest court. And I believe this person will do a great job.

On the issues, Kavanaugh seems to tick numerous boxes of interest to Trump, who included him on a list of potential Supreme Court picks published by the White House in November 2017. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer earlier on Monday said Trump's nominee should be obligated to make his or her views clear on matters like the Roe ruling. But the situation appeared to remain fluid.

Hardiman, a one-time cab driver from Waltham, Massachusetts who was the first member of his family to attend college, served alongside Trump's older sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, on the 3rd Circuit. Barrett is a former University of Notre Dame law professor, (and a graduate of the school; Kavanaugh meanwhile received his undergrad and law degrees from Yale). "And just like Justice Gorsuch, he excelled as a legal clerk for Justice Kennedy", Trump added, saying his nominee "deserves a swift confirmation and robust bipartisan support". But he has a comparatively thin record of judicial opinions and some conservatives have voiced concerns that he could turn out to be similar to Justice David Souter, who was appointed to the court by President George H.W. Bush but sometimes sided with the court's liberals. He is an evangelical Christian whose book Lead Yourself First uses President Dwight Eisenhower, primatologist Jane Goodall, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr. and others as examples of "leaders who have used solitude to function more effectively". "So I think any four of these would be outstanding". On Saturday, he tweeted that a "Big decision" was coming soon. On Sunday he was back to citing 'the four people'. Trump's other leading candidates for the post were fellow federal appellate judges Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett.

Kavanaugh has never directly ruled on abortion as a judge, so it's unclear how he would decide the subject. I think they'd be fine justices of the Supreme Court.

"These are very talented people, brilliant people, and I think you're going to really love it. And I expect we will do that on sort of a normal timetable, a couple of months".

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