Brett Kavanaugh named as Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick
Nominee is further to the right than outgoing Supreme Court Justice
Donald Trump has nominated 53-year-old federal judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Kavanaugh, a “conservative stalwart with deep ties to the Republican establishment”, worked in the White House during George W Bush’s presidency, the Washington Post reports. He now serves on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Trump said he had adopted Ronald Reagan’s approach of not asking about the nominee’s personal opinions.
“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,” he said. “I am pleased to say that I have found, without doubt, such a person.”
Kavanaugh now faces a thorough background check by the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
CNN says that Republican Senator Susan Collins is considered a crucial swing vote, as she has made it clear that she will not support a nominee hostile to the landmark abortion ruling in Roe v. Wade. “Republicans can’t afford to lose a single member if – and this is a big if – Democrats are unified in their opposition to Trump’s pick,” the broadcaster says.
Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell reportedly warned Trump before the nomination that Kavanaugh’s lengthy paper trail could be an obstacle to his confirmation.
Kavanaugh has spent 12 years as an appeals court judge, was White House staff secretary under George W Bush, and was an assistant to Kenneth Starr, who investigated Bill Clinton.
The New York Times says that the number of pages of documents produced by Kavanaugh during his previous roles “is said to run into the millions”, which could allow Democrats to delay the confirmation for months.