President Trump has nominated D.C. Circuit Appellate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Anthony Kennedy’s retirement.
“Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law,” Trump stated.
“The rule of law is our nation’s proud heritage. It is the cornerstone our freedom. It is what guarantees equal justice,” Trump continued. “And the Senate now has a chance to protect this glorious heritage by sending Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.”
Trump then allowed Kavanaugh to introduce himself and make a pitch to Senators as to why they should vote to confirm him.
“I revere the Constitution. I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic,” Kavanaugh said. “If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case, and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law.”
Kavanaugh had received plaudits from Trump loyalists such as Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Breitbart News, which framed him as a fellow traveller of the President’s on issues of trade and immigration. He was also praised by Leonard Leo, the executive vice-president of the powerful Federalist Society, the pre-eminent originalist legal organization.
However, some social conservatives were skeptical of his record, pushing for the appointment of Seventh Circuit Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett instead, who they perceived as more in tune with their views on abortion. Some Republican Senators were also critical of Kavanaugh, with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) urging the President to pass over Kavanaugh in favor of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who was also initially under consideration.
By choosing Kavanaugh, Trump has certainly nominated a individual with a strong conservative record, a vast improvement on Kennedy, a moderate centrist. Nevertheless, he is likely to face tough questioning by both sides of the aisle on the Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.