Judge Brett Kavanaugh named Trump's second Supreme Court justice

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A right-leaning Supreme Court would be one of Trump's lasting legacies and highly prized gift to his conservative base after he past year delivered his first Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch.

Kavanaugh, 53, is a longtime fixture of the Republican establishment.

President Donald Trump is expected to announce Monday his nominee to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the nation's highest court.

Hours before President Trump revealed his Supreme Court nominee Monday night, the White House made a curious announcement.

"He's a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time". Kavanaugh and Gorsuch served as law clerks to Kennedy at the same time early in their legal careers. Some conservative activists have questioned whether he would rule sufficiently aggressively as a justice.

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Trump's other leading candidates for the post were fellow federal appellate judges Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett. "Judge Kavanaugh clearly understands the proper role of a judge is to interpret the law as it is written and apply the law impartially".

In her 20s, she co-authored a paper that said Catholic judges, if they are faithful to church teachings, are "morally precluded" from enforcing the death penalty.

In this June 1, 2006 file photo, from left to right, President Bush, watches the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh as Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by U.S. But some Democrats accused him of excessive partisanship and it took three years before the Senate eventually voted to confirm him. He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton and worked in the White House during George W. Bush's presidency. Now the list of potential GOP defectors has arguably grown. The red-state senators' support for Kavanaugh could dampen the Democratic Party's anti-Trump enthusiasm and, as a result, reduce voter turnout in the congressional elections.

Kavanaugh once served as a Supreme Court clerk under Kennedy.

"No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input abut a Supreme Court nomination". Democrats are voicing alarm about what the new justice could mean for charged issues such as abortion rights and gay rights. Kennedy will retire at the end of July after serving since February 1988. Senate Republicans hold only a 51-49 majority, leaving them hardly any margin if Democrats hold the line.

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Republicans now control that number of Senate seats, although one of their number, Senator John McCain, is at home in Arizona battling cancer.

The president briefed Senate Republicans at the White House Monday evening shortly before making the public announcement.

Over the weekend, it looked like Judge Kavanaugh's star may have been fading, that perhaps he had too-close ties to the Bush family for Mr Trump's liking.

The Democratic senator Kamala Harris of California said: "Judge Brett Kavanaugh represents a direct and fundamental threat to that promise of equality and so I will oppose his nomination to the supreme court". The concerns arise from opinions Kavanaugh wrote in cases challenging the Affordable Care Act and in a recent case over the right of an immigrant teenager in federal custody to have an abortion. The court could also be called upon to render judgment on issues of personal significance to Trump and his administration including matters arising from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing Russia-related investigation and several civil lawsuits pending against Trump.

Other controversial topics include net neutrality and the judge's belief that criminal investigations should not involve active presidents, a clear problem for some lawmakers amid Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into Trump's alleged collusion with Russian Federation. That "broad definition of obstruction of justice", Landler and Apuzzo write, "would be damaging if applied to President Trump in the Russian Federation investigation".

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