President Donald Trump on Monday night nominated conservative District of Columbia Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Kavanaugh, 53, is a Yale-educated appellate court judge who recently wrote a dissent when his colleagues allowed an immigrant teen in U.S. custody to have an abortion.
But he’s probably best known for helping independent counsel Kenneth Starr during the impeachment probe of President Bill Clinton and his ties to President George W. Bush. A former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy, Kavanaugh worked on behalf of the Bush campaign during the 2000 election recount, later taking a job in the White House counsel office and as staff secretary.
When he was confirmed to the federal appeals court in D.C. in 2006, Bush took the unusual step of hosting a Rose Garden swearing-in ceremony with 120 guests to celebrate. At the time, Democrats panned Kavanaugh as a political operative who was being elevated to the court to provide a rubber stamp for Bush’s executive actions.
The selection of Trump's second nominee to the Supreme Court came after days of frenzied lobbying and speculation, setting up a ferocious confirmation battle with Democrats in the U.S. Senate as he seeks to shift the nation's highest court further to the right.
With customary fanfare, Trump unveiled his choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on prime-time TV. His final options were all young federal judges who could help remake the court for decades to come with precedent-shattering rulings on issues such as abortion, guns and health care. Among them were 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge and Notre Dame University School of Law professor Amy Coney Barrett.