It's Brett Kavanaugh. President Trump made his monumental Supreme Court pick Monday night, selecting the 53-year-old to replace Anthony Kennedy, reports CNN. Prior to the announcement, Sam Baker of Axios looked over the four presumed finalists and wondered, "Do you think Trump will nominate the very conservative appellate judge, the very conservative appellate judge, the very conservative appellate judge, or the very conservative appellate judge?" Kavanaugh does indeed fit the description, having served since 2006 on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, reports the AP. Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School and once clerked for the man he will replace, Anthony Kennedy, assuming the Senate confirms him. He also worked in the White House of George W. Bush and for Kenneth Starr.
"There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving," said Trump, referring to Kavanaugh as a "judge's judge." In his own comments, Kavanaugh promised to "keep an open mind on every case." He also praised Trump: “No president has ever consulted more widely or talked with more people from more backgrounds to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination." Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, have two daughters. Some early takes:
- Washington Post: Trump is "elevating a conservative stalwart with deep ties to the Republican establishment to succeed retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and triggering a partisan war over the court’s future."
- New York Times: Trump picked "a politically connected member of Washington’s conservative legal establishment ... setting up an epic confirmation battle and potentially cementing the court’s rightward tilt for a generation."
- Wall Street Journal: Kavanaugh "is a scion of the Republican legal establishment who has been in the middle of efforts to complete a judicial counterrevolution that has eluded conservatives for decades."
- National Review: "On what is commonly regarded as the second-most-important court in the country, he has confronted a vast array of consequential constitutional and statutory issues and has written strong, influential opinions. His positions in numerous dissents were later adopted by Supreme Court majorities."
- Politico: "Kavanaugh was seen as safe choice for Trump. He has the traditional resume of a Supreme Court Justice—a Yale law degree, a Supreme Court clerkship under Kennedy, more than a decade on the Circuit Court—and he is well-regarded in academic and political circles."
- ThinkProgress: "If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh is likely to vote with the Court’s conservative bloc in nearly all cases. But he may hand conservatives incremental victories at times when they seek transformative change. The open question is whether Kavanaugh sought out incremental solutions because that is his natural preference, or because he was trying to appear relatively moderate in anticipation of a Supreme Court nomination."