Trump picks Kavanaugh for court

Jul 13, 2018, 05:12
Trump picks Kavanaugh for court

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, a decision likely to cement a rightward tilt on the top judicial body with momentous implications for American society.

A product of the Republican legal establishment in Washington, Kavanaugh is a former law clerk for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

He has earned a reputation as a brilliant jurist with impeccable legal credentials, and he is universally respected for his intellect, as well as his ability to persuade and build consensus.

Kavanaugh dissented from his court's 2011 conclusion that Obamacare, a law detested by conservatives, did not violate the U.S. Constitution, asserting that it was premature to decide the case's merits.

Top contenders had included federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman, as well as Kavanaugh, who is now a federal appellate judge in the District of Columbia.

It also informed many of his rulings on executive power, where he largely has backed the president's authority to hire and fire officials at government agencies and offered his support to the White House and military commission process amid challenges from detainees.

Judge Kavanaugh also served as a Counsel for the Office of Independent Counsel under Ken Starr and as a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.

"The president's not a lawyer - he doesn't have the same detailed knowledge, but he understands at a fundamental level that the way you ensure fair judging is by making sure that judges interpret the law as it's written", said Leo.

Four red-state Democrats turned down invitations from the White House to attend Trump's Supreme Court nominee announcement. "I am deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court". During his presidential campaign, Trump named several potential Supreme Court nominees created to fit the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. Even as guests entered the East Room of the White House on Monday night, placards resting on chairs in the front room simply read, "Nominee Family".

Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal appeals judge last fall - excited social conservatives with her testimony when questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings previous year.

Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh, questioning his commitment to social issues like abortion and noting his time serving under President George W. Bush as evidence he is a more establishment choice. But his supporters have cited his experience and wide range of legal opinions.

With McCain sidelined and Democrats expected to unite in opposition to Trump's choice, any single Republican senator potentially could bring down a nomination, changing the chamber's political dynamics a great deal, Georgetown University Law Center professor David Super said Monday.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 Senate majority, and with ailing Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona they now can muster only 50 votes. Democratic senators serving in Republican-leaning states including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of in and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota made similar remarks, though top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer blasted Trump's pick.

"When the political winds shift, Congress never leaves policy issues alone", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has served as the legislative architect of Trump's remaking of the courts. John McCain back in Arizona fighting cancer, McConnell can not afford to lose a single Republican vote without convincing Democrats to cross the aisle and back a candidate who is largely seen as a conservative nominee.

One Democrat up for re-election, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, announced Monday he would oppose any nominee from Trump's list of 25 possible candidates, drafted by conservative groups. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Dianne Feinstein of California. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will determine whether to recommend him to the full Senate.

The Democrats are trying to pressure two Republicans, Sens.

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME are considered swing votes on the Republican side of the aisle - two members who voted against GOP-led efforts to repeal Obamacare a year ago - and have expressed concerns about any action to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion ruling. The two have supported access to abortion services.

Trump chose Kavanaugh to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Judge Amul Thapar, on a broader top list, is also Catholic.

"If confirmed, five conservative men could annihilate the reproductive rights of millions of American women".

Like the other eight justices on the court, Kavanaugh has an Ivy League law degree, spending his undergraduate and law school years at Yale.

In his 2006 confirmation hearing to become a federal judge, he said, "I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully" because it's "binding precedent" that has been "reaffirmed many times". He was part of the Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's Whitewater investigation, which ultimately led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment by the House and acquittal by the Senate. The official said the White House reached out to every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold confirmation hearings, and that only Democrat Kamala Harris "refused to engage".

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