Trump names Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court, Senate battle looms
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.
by Michael MathesTrump's decision stands to be among the most consequential of his presidency, as he seeks to shape the high court to his conservative leanings for decades to come. With Kavanaugh a mere 53 years old, he could serve for a generation or more. "Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law," Trump said as he introduced his nominee in a prime-time address from the White House, praising him as "one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time." After days spent spent teasing his highly-anticipated decision, Trump ended up picking a jurist with extended federal bench and administration experience to fill the vacancy left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh worked for president George W. Bush, who appointed him in 2003 to the US Court of Appeals in Washington -- where he was finally confirmed by the Senate in 2006 after years of Democratic obstruction. He is also a robust supporter of the executive power of the presidency. Kennedy was long a swing vote on the nine-member court, and Trump's choice -- his second opportunity in 18 months to fill a Supreme Court seat -- stands to dramatically affect many aspects of American life, from abortion to voting rights to immigration. While conservative on firearms and election financing, Kennedy showed a more progressive streak on issues such as abortion and affirmative action. An example of this came in 2015, when, thanks to him, same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States. But Kavanaugh, who grew up in Washington as the son of a schoolteacher, has the reputation of a staunch conservative, one who many Republicans no doubt hope could help overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that guarantees women the right to an abortion. He has ruled on hundreds of cases, and contributed to prosecutor Kenneth Starr's report into president Bill Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, which outlined several grounds for Clinton's impeachment. Later he was part of Bush's legal team in working on the 2000 Florida recount, which resulted in Bush winning the presidency. Kavanaugh recently voiced disagreement with a court decision allowing an undocumented teenage immigrant to get an abortion.