Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Monday night. Kavanaugh, 53, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Kennedy, though a conservative, was a swing vote on the U.S. Supreme Court many times and will be retired effectively as of July 31, 2018.
“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,” President Donald J. Trump said in a prime-time speech last evening. “I am pleased to say I have found without doubt such a person.”
A conservative, Kavanaugh doesn’t have much of a track record on LGBT civil rights. However, he does have a record of siding with religious organizations over government rules and law. This appeals to the conservative wing of the GOP.
Kavanaugh was confirmed to his position on the Court of Appeals in 2006. He had worked in the Bush administration and for counsel Kenneth Starr in the investigation that eventually led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
What happens next?
With the President’s announcement, the next hurdle for Kavanaugh will be to gain the U.S. Senate’s approval. When Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, then-President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland as his successor in 2016. The Republican-controlled Senate blocked his nomination and changed the Senate rules so that a nominee couldn’t be confirmed in an election year. The same Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are already talking about having Trump’s pick confirmed before the next midterm elections.
Following Trump’s announcement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, released the following statement:
“In selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, President Trump has put reproductive rights and freedoms and health care protections for millions of Americans on the judicial chopping block. His own writings make clear that he would rule against reproductive rights and freedoms, and that he would welcome challenges to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. President Trump repeatedly promised to nominate justices to the bench who are hostile to Roe v. Wade, and who will undermine our health care laws. He has picked Judge Kavanaugh from a list of 25 people who were vetted and approved by the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation — special-interest groups devoted to overturning Roe and striking down the Affordable Care Act. With this pick, the President is making good on his pledge to ‘punish’ women for their choices. Judge Kavanaugh got the nomination because he passed this litmus test, not because he’ll be an impartial judge on behalf of all Americans. If he were to be confirmed, women’s reproductive rights would be in the hands of five men on the Supreme Court. The Senate has come together on a bipartisan basis to protect women’s reproductive rights and to protect health care for millions of Americans before—including those with pre-existing conditions. We need to do it again. I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same. The stakes are simply too high for anything less.”