Trump picks conservative judge Kavanaugh for U.S

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President Donald Trump announced his selection to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy Monday as conservative Washington D.C. insider Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump had been going back and forth between Kavanaugh, the favorite of White House counsel Don McGahn, and Hardiman, whom the president's sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a former colleague of Hardiman's, has pressed him to choose.

His extensive record on the bench and in prior Washington jobs means the 53-year-old conservative federal appeals court judge promises to attract a barrage of questions during what is likely to be a contentious U.S. Senate confirmation process.

Neil Gorsuch, 50, who was appointed by Mr Trump previous year, is already one of the most conservative of the court's nine justices.

Some conservatives have expressed concerns about Kavanaugh - a longtime judge and a former clerk for Kennedy - questioning his commitment to social issues like abortion and noting his time serving under President George W. Bush as evidence he is a more establishment choice.

Kavanaugh worked in the George W Bush White House before being nominated to the DC court of appeals in 2003. He has written roughly 300 opinions as a judge, authored several law journal articles, regularly taught law school classes and spoken frequently in public.

Kavanaugh dissented from his court's 2011 conclusion that Obamacare, a law detested by conservatives, did not violate the U.S. Constitution, asserting that it was premature to decide the case's merits.


"If all the Republicans stick together", Chris Coons, a Democratic senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, "they will be able to confirm whomever President Trump nominates".

A senior White House official said Trump made his final decision on the nomination Sunday evening, then phoned Kavanaugh to inform him. "Maybe a handful of Democrats will vote for a Trump pick because they have to politically". Asked by reporters how many people were being considered, the president said: "Let's say it's the four people ... they're excellent, every one".

Democrats are certain to press Trump's latest nominee on the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, a decision some conservatives - particularly conservative Christians - have long wanted to overturn.

Both endorsed Kavanaugh's candidacy for the high court in a letter addressed to Congressional leaders including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia will be prime targets.

While the president has been pondering his choice, his aides have been preparing for what is expected to be a tough confirmation fight. Kennedy ruled multiple times in favor of abortion rights during his 30-year Supreme Court tenure. She rocketed to the top of Trump's earlier list of 25 Supreme Court candidates after her performance during her confirmation hearing last fall, when Democrats cited her deep Catholic faith as a potential problem. Of the court's liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and Stephen Breyer turns 80 next month, so Trump may well get another opportunity to cement conservative dominance of the court for years to come.

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