President Donald Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh, a politically connected conservative judge, for the Supreme Court Monday night, setting up a ferocious confirmation battle with Democrats as he seeks to shift the nation's highest court further to the right.
Trump introduced Kavanaugh as "a judge's judge" and cited his "proven commitment to equal justice under the law".
The president added: "There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving".
He is the kind of judge a President Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney would have picked - a man with an established legal pedigree and a reputation as a reliably conservative jurist.
Kavanaugh received his current appointment in 2006 after five years in the George W. Bush administration, where he served in a number of roles including staff secretary to the president.More news: USA job growth seen strong in June, wages picking up
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.
"I am grateful to you and I am humbled by your confidence in me".
Justice Kennedy sometimes sided with the court's liberal justices on divisive social issues.
He also thanked his parents and talked about his young daughters, whose basketball teams he coaches.
Trump has also favored Brett Kavanaugh, who has years of federal experience and is described as a mild-mannered and fair-minded by conservative groups. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch served as law clerks to Kennedy at the same time early in their legal careers. The president's attention in the coming days will be on meetings in Europe. Momentum appeared to be with Kavanaugh and Hardiman, though the process remained fluid. So, yeah, those societies who vetted the justices are extremely conservative. Democrats, meanwhile, have raised alarm not just over Kavanaugh's conservative bona fides, but one of past academic writings in which he argued presidents "should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office" such as responding to civil lawsuits and investigative inquiries based out of criminal charges.More news: Tropical Storm Chris expected to strengthen, Beryl may re-form
Kennedy, 81, announced on June 27 plans to retire after three decades on the court, effective on July 31. A Ronald Reagan nominee, Kennedy joined the high court in February 1988.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh stands on stage after he and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito participated in the opening panel of Georgetown Law Journal's annual symposium, in Washington on November 2, 2017.
Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vows a fight, "We already know that President Trump's nominee will be prepared to overturn the precedence of Roe v. Wade". "I will tell each senator that I revere the Constitution", Kavanaugh said.
Two other vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election this fall ― Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Jon Tester of Montana ― did not support Gorsuch's nomination. "A judge must be independent, and must interpret the law, not make the law".
The Kentucky Republican faces a challenge in winning Kavanaugh's confirmation.More news: Sen Claims Dems Would Block George Washington for Supreme Court
Senate Republicans are pleased that Kyl will be the one to help the nominee navigate the arduous confirmation process. John McCain, R-Ariz, is absent getting cancer treatment, so Republicans now have just a 50-49 vote hold.