Brett Kavanaugh Announced as Trump's Pick for SCOTUS

Clay Curtis
July 11, 2018

"For these and other reasons, we are calling on citizens to urge their senators to firmly oppose the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice on the United States Supreme Court".

Kavanaugh, 53, had always been mentioned in Washington chatter as a potential high court choice by a Republican president because of his educational background, intellectual firepower and an unyielding commitment to a legal approach championed by conservative Supreme Court justices such as Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett reports from Washington, DC.

The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), whose leaders pushed Justice Neil Gorsuch over the finish line past year, are getting their war chests ready. Other Democrats who represent heavily Republican states will also be under pressure to support the nominee. He was appointed to that post by President George W. Bush, after serving as Bush's White House staff secretary.

Still, Levy pushed for the courts to stop the impending confirmation process for Trump's nominee.

Trump has previously said he wanted "pro-life" justices opposed to abortion rights. Barrett has excited social conservatives since she was questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings past year, but her brief time on the bench has raised questions.

With a short list of candidates already in hand, Trump has moved quickly to select his nominee, just 12 days after Kennedy announced his retirement. But with only 49 votes in the Senate, Democrats have few tools to work with.

Republicans may have a narrower margin for error than they did when the Senate confirmed Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, by a vote of 54-45 in April 2017. During her confirmation hearings past year after she was nominated for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, she was pressed about the impact her Catholic religious beliefs have on her decisions.

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A graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, Kavanaugh - the only one of Trump's four finalists who has an Ivy League degree - will be in good company on a court where all the current justices have gone to law school at Harvard or Yale. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader, has tried to warn the president through gentle nudging that Hardiman and Kethledge would be the safest choices for confirmation. The other finalists, also federal appeals court judges, were Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania and Raymond Kethledge of MI.

As soon as Trump announces his Supreme Court pick, Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative political advocacy organization, says it will start airing ads in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia promoting the nomination.

Liberal Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders said in a tweet that if Kavanaugh is confirmed "it will have a profoundly negative effect on workers' rights, women's rights and voting rights for decades to come". He also has taken an expansive view of executive power and has favored limits on investigating the president.

As a result, Trump found more than twice as many judicial vacancies waiting for him when he entered the White House as Obama did. Kavanaugh worked for Kozinski as a clerk in 1991, and the two have maintained professional ties over the years, including when they worked for Kennedy.

Another Democrat, Senator Richard Blumenthal, on Sunday assailed Trump's reliance on a list of potential nominees endorsed by the conservative Federalist Society.

"Bob Casey's opposition to President Trump's nominee before he or she has even been named shows he has given up any pretense of being a moderate voice", said NRSC Spokesman Bob Salera in an emailed release.

"I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh's nomination with everything I have", Schumer's statement said, "and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same".

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