Trump names Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court, Senate battle looms

Leah Millis  Reuters

Leah Millis Reuters

Even before President Donald Trump nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court nominee Monday night, advocates for a range of issues were bracing for what might come next.

In a prime-time address from the White House, Trump introduced Kavanaugh as "a judge's judge".

In a discussion with Chris Matthews, Maddow said Kavanaugh appeared to be the only one on Trump's list who is on the record as asserting that a president should be exempt from criminal investigation and prosecution while in office, other than by Congress.

President George W. Bush appointed Kavanaugh to the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said she would review Kavanaugh's writings on and off the bench and "pay careful attention" to the answers he gives during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He's also taken an expansive view of executive power and has favored limits on investigating the president.

Kavanaugh ruled in one case involving abortion previous year and is considered a likely opponent of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The White House would love to have the Democrats' votes for confirmation. The next morning, they were among those whisked out of the White House during the 9/11 attacks. 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.

Republicans in the Senate need to be completely united on the pick, because of the delicate nature of their majority. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, is ill and may not be able to participate in the confirmation process.

McConnell warned Trump earlier that Kavanaugh could be more hard to confirm given his long history and paper trail, The New York Times reported over the weekend, and sources in both parties have said it could be hard to move the nomination quickly.

Cornyn says Democrats have pledged to stop the nominee at all costs, but "we will see President Trump's nominee confirmed on a timely basis". "And I believe this person will do a great job".

Like Trump's first nominee to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh clerked for Kennedy.

In televised remarks from the East Room of the White House, the president praised what he called Kavanaugh's "impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law".

Barrett, on the other hand, has become a favorite of religious conservatives because of her thorny confirmation hearing to the federal bench past year. The Supreme Court could be called upon to weigh in on these matters.

"My judicial philosophy is straightforward: a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law". "Montanans have a lot on the line with this next Supreme Court Justice so I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put politics aside and do what's best for this nation".

If confirmed, the appellate judge would become the second young, conservative jurist Trump has put on the top US court during his first term. They were all part of a 25-name list vetted by conservative groups.

Kavanaugh heads to Capitol Hill this week to make his case for confirmation, and he will face deep skepticism and outright opposition from most if not all Democrats.

Since the 2016 campaign, Trump has made his process for picking Supreme Court justices fairly transparent.

People protest immigration separation policies outside the federal court on June 26, 2018 in El Paso, Texas. Monday, they assigned their stars Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow - as opposed to straight news anchors - to quarterback coverage of Trump's announcement, a made-for-TV moment with a big reveal.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's focus now turns to holding his sometimes-fractured Republican conference together and charging ahead with the nomination in a way that won't threaten Republicans' chances in the midterm elections. Like Trump's first nominee a year ago, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh would be a young addition who could help remake the court for decades to come with rulings that could restrict abortion, expand gun rights and roll back key parts of Obamacare.

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