Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Trump picks Brett Kavanaugh for US Supreme Court judge

President Donald Trump announces Judge Neil Gorsuch standing with his wife Louise as his nominee for the Supreme Court on Jan. 31 2017 in the East Room of the White House. On Monday Trump will unveil his choice to fill the seat being vacated by Justi Who's In The Running For Kennedy's Seat
Faye Gross | 13 July, 2018, 05:11

Brett Kavanaugh, the consummate Washington insider picked by President Donald Trump on Monday for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, has viewed business regulations with skepticism in his 12 years as a judge and taken conservative positions on some divisive social issues. Both men served as clerks in the Supreme Court's 1993-1994 term to long-serving conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement on June 27 at age 81.

Trump's Monday night prime-time announcement of the nomination of Kavanaugh, a former attorney and top aide to President George W. Bush, would move the high court in a more conservative direction for decades to come.

He has earned a reputation as a brilliant jurist with impeccable legal credentials, and he is universally respected for his intellect, as well as his ability to persuade and build consensus.

One measure of a judge's influence is how many of his clerks wind up working in the Supreme Court.

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. Kavanaugh, who serves on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is expected to be less receptive to abortion and gay rights than Kennedy was.

Speaking at the White House, Kavanaugh pledged to preserve the Constitution and said that "a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must be independent, must interpret the law, not make the law, must interpret statutes as written, and must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent", Kavanaugh said. In the Bush White House, Kavanaugh was a key player in choosing U.S. Supreme Court nominees, most of whom were very right-wing.

"In selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, President Trump has put reproductive rights and freedoms and healthcare protections for millions of Americans on the judicial chopping block", Schumer said.

Trump past year appointed Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices, after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump signed Kavanaugh's nomination papers Monday evening in the White House residence. But his supporters have cited his experience and wide range of legal opinions.

"I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh's nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same", Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer of NY said in a statement.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 Senate majority, and with ailing Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona they now can muster only 50 votes.

At the same time, Republicans are urging a half dozen Democratic senators, largely those who are up for re-election in Trump-won states, to back the president's choice.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said opponents were using "40-year-old scare tactics" over abortion and other issues but they "will not stop us from doing the right thing". Rand Paul of Kentucky had expressed concerns but tweeted that he looked forward to meeting with Kavanaugh "with an open mind".

Trump Says Baby Blimp Makes Him Feel ‘Unwelcome’ in London
During the dinner, they reaffirmed their strong alliance and vowed to jointly fight against terrorism and Russian aggression. Dick said they will be linked through to units at the same level in sectors such as the intelligence world.


Liberal groups were equally passionate in their opposition.

In his 2006 confirmation hearing for the D.C. Circuit, New York Democratic Sen.

Among their targets are Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, as well as Doug Jones of Alabama, who is not up for re-election but represents a conservative state in the Deep South. Feinstein is the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

Jenny Pizer of Lambda Legal was more blunt, saying Kavanaugh will "yank the court sharply to the extreme right".

The Democrats are trying to pressure two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, to oppose any nominee who threatens Roe v. Wade.

Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty. Judge Amul Thapar, on a broader top list, is also Catholic. A more conservative majority could be more willing to uphold state restrictions on abortion, if not overturn the 45-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman's constitutional right.

Kennedy's replacement also could be more willing to allow states to carry out executions and could support undoing earlier court holdings in the areas of racial discrimination in housing and the workplace.

Like the other eight justices on the court, Kavanaugh has an Ivy League law degree, spending his undergraduate and law school years at Yale.

A date for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is yet to be set.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Kavanaugh has come under fire in some conservative circles for his ties to Bush, a member of the Republican establishment that is eschewed by Trump, as well as for not sometimes ruling aggressively enough on issues of importance to conservative activists.

In a discussion with Chris Matthews, Maddow said Kavanaugh appeared to be the only one on Trump's list who is on the record as asserting that a president should be exempt from criminal investigation and prosecution while in office, other than by Congress.

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