Trump picks Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court

Leah Millis  Reuters

Leah Millis Reuters

Judge Kavanaugh is the best choice to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy and Senate Democrats must put partisan politics aside and vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court.

"What matters is not a judge's political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require".

Leonard Leo, who is on leave from the Federalist Society and has been advising Trump over the court nomination, said he assumes Kavanaugh, Barrett, Hardiman and Kethledge "are the four" who are getting the most focus.

"Judge Kavanaugh has a particularly strong record of policing the separation of powers, seeking to ensure that lawmaking remains the prerogative of elected members of Congress", she said. But if he does not do so, as a "favor" to him and the nation, Freedom Watch and I will do all ethically and legally proper to oppose Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation.

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.

Three of those largely rural state Democrats, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voted to confirm Trump's previous Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, last year.

Kennedy's replacement also could be more willing to allow states to carry out executions and could support undoing earlier court holdings in the areas of racial discrimination in housing and the workplace. With Kavanaugh's confirmation, the country would enter the age of the solid, 5-4 conservative majority... An example of this came in 2015, when, thanks to him, same-sex marriage was legalized across the US.

Republicans hold 51 seats in the Senate, though Arizona Sen. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska face pressure from liberal groups to oppose the nomination due to concerns about the future of Roe v. Wade, which established a woman's right to abortion. The White House invited on Monday several vulnerable Democratic senators to the event naming Kavanaugh in order to place maximum pressure on their vote.

Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of IN were invited for the announcement.

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"If he were to be confirmed, women's reproductive rights would be in the hands of five men on the Supreme Court", Schumer said.

After days of frenzied lobbying and speculation, Trump selected the 53-year-old federal appellate judge for the seat opened up by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Whoever is picked will face opposition from Democrats.

The sharply negative Democratic responses to Kavanaugh's nomination indicated a pitched battle over his confirmation is coming this fall.

There is "no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving", Trump said.

"This nomination could alter the balance of the court in favor of powerful special interests and against working families for a generation, and would take away labor, civil and human rights from millions of Americans".

Trump had said he hoped to make his decision by the time he returned Sunday from a weekend in New Jersey, but he told reporters en route to the White House that he needed more time.

"Donald Trump was clear about what he was looking for in a Supreme Court nominee, and Brett Kavanaugh fills the bill". I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh, and to the Senate giving full and timely consideration of this nominee. The Supreme Court has an obligation to protect the Constitution and to stand for the rule of law.

"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.

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