WASHINGTON, DC — President Donald Trump says he’ll nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Trump announced his selection at a presidential address Monday night.
Kavanaugh said he was grateful and “humbled” by Trump’s confidence.
“I am deeply honored to fill his seat on the Supreme Court,” said Kavanaugh, referring to Kennedy.
Kavanaugh, 53, a federal appeals court judge who was a former aide to President George W. Bush, has a conservative record, top qualifications and deep connections with Republican legal groups, The New York Times reported. When Bush nominated him 15 years ago to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Democrats balked, saying he was too biased in favor of Republicans. He faced a tough confirmation hearing and was ultimately confirmed three years later.
Before that, Kavanaugh led the investigation that eventually resulted in President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. He was a lead author of the Starr Report, an investigative account of Clinton by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr that was released on Sept. 11, 1998.
Kavanaugh talked a little bit about his upbringing Monday, saying he was introduced to law by his mother who would practice her closing arguments at the dinner table. He said he tries to abide by the saying “men for others.”
“I’ve tried to live that creed,” he said.
Kavanaugh was born in 1965 in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Georgetown Prep School and Mater Dei School. He later graduated from Yale Law School and was a former clerk for Kennedy.
Kavanaugh, who said he’s taught hundred of students at Harvard’s law school, has an originalist reputation similar to Justice Clarence Thomas and former Justice Antonin Scalia, Politico reported. This means he tends to believe that government should be guided by the meaning of the Constitution as it was originally written.
J.D. Vance, author of the bestseller Hillbilly Elegy, advocated for his former Yale Law School professor in the Wall Street Journal.
“He is a committed textualist and originalist, one whose time on the bench has revealed a unique ability to apply these principles to legal facts,” wrote Vance. “He deeply believes in the constitutional separation of powers as a means for ensuring governmental accountability and protecting individual liberty. From the start of his career, he’s applied the Constitution faithfully, even when that made him a lonely voice. He has done so with particular tenacity on the issue that matters most to the president: taking power away from unelected bureaucrats and returning it to elected officials.”
Trump’s short list of four finalists also included Judges Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett, The Times reported.
“If confirmed by the senate I will keep an open mind in every case,” Kavanaugh said Monday.
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