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President Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

President Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

Kethledge, like Kavanaugh, is a former Kennedy clerk.

While Kennedy was the swing vote on major issues - including abortion, same-sex marriage and affirmative action - Kavanaugh will likely be a reliable conservative vote, forming a five-person right-leaning bloc with Justices John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, opponents say.

Relishing the guessing game beyond the White House gates, Trump had little to say about his choice before the announcement.

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.

Those names played a crucial role in winning the votes of evangelical conservatives, who might have doubted Trump's unconventional credentials but deeply wanted a Supreme Court justice who would oppose abortion rights.

"I will evaluate Judge Kavanaugh's record, legal qualifications, judicial philosophy and particularly, his views on healthcare", said Sen. "A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law", he said.

Rachel B. Tiven, Chief Executive Officer of Lambda Legal, said LGBT people "have good reason to fear that Judge Kavanaugh will abuse his power on the Court to protect the wealthy and the powerful while depriving LGBT Americans of our dignity, demeaning our community, and diminishing our status as equal citizens".

In recent days, the Kentucky Republican - who oversaw the successful confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch previous year - has played a significant behind-the-scenes role, consulting the President and his team daily on strategy and the political realities that await any nominee. 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". But his supporters have cited his experience and wide range of legal opinions. Trump's tax cuts will fade with time, regulations erased by this president can be rewritten by the next one, spats with foreign leaders can be patched up, but judicial appointments - and their court rulings - endure for decades.

Trump's selection will set up a confirmation showdown in the U.S. Senate, where his fellow Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority, though with ailing Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona they now can muster only 50 votes.

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But with just four months until the midterms, all eyes are on Democrats running for re-election in states Trump carried in 2016.

"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.

Some Republican senators had favored other options. "I look forward to meeting with judge kavanaugh and reviewing his record throughout the confirmation process".

Democrats and liberal advocacy groups quickly lined up in opposition. "I've tried to live that creed", he said Monday night.

Trump "did exactly what he said he would do on the campaign trail - nominate someone who will overturn women's reproductive rights", the NY senator said.

Mr Kennedy, a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will get the first chance to question the nominee, predicted a "rough, tough, down in the dirt, ear-pulling, nose-biting fight". The others are Republican targets for the confirmation vote who come from Trump-won states where they face re-election this fall.

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.

"We hope that our Senate will reject any nominee that does not pass that litmus test of not wanting to uphold Roe v. Wade", she said. The two have supported access to abortion services, and activists have already begun sending wire coat hangers, as a symbol of an era when abortion was illegal, to Collins' office.

Democrats in the past also have pointed to Kavanaugh's work for Bush during the 2000 recount fight, a controversy that was resolved only after the conservative-majority Supreme Court sided with Bush over Democratic candidate Al Gore, settling the election outcome.


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