Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's nomination of U.S. Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has set off a contentious confirmation battle.

Be smart: Trump’s nod to Kavanaugh is not a surprise, given his conservative record and deep ties among Washington's Republican establishment. He was the frontrunner from the start, and a favorite of White House Counsel Don McGahn. If confirmed, Kavanaugh will certainly solidify the court's conservative majority.

His background: The 53-year-old is a federal appeals court judge from Bethesda, Maryland who graduated from Yale Law School in 1990, and has been working on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit since then-President George W. Bush nominated him.

  • Before being appointed to the appellate court, he worked as a top White House lawyer for Bush, clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy in 1993, and was an attorney for the Office of the Solicitor General.
  • He also worked under Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr as an associate counsel and penned much of Starr’s report in the 1990s, which included details of President Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Kavanaugh had also led the Whitewater independent counsel inquiry into the death of a Clinton White House counsel, per the Baltimore Sun.

Critical decisions: In 2017, Kavanaugh dissented on a decision that allowed an immigrant teenager to get an abortion, and has rejected the idea that the Obama administration could compel employers, including those with religious beliefs, to provide contraception to employees.

Go deeper: Where Brett Kavanaugh sits in the ideological spectrum

Go deeper

Updated 17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: New York reports most COVID cases since MayStudies show drop in coronavirus death rate — The next wave is gaining steam.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.

U.S. officials: Iran and Russia aim to interfere in election

Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.

Obama: Trump emboldens people to be "cruel and divisive and racist"

Former President Barack Obama. Photo: ALEX EDELMAN / Getty Images

In his first campaign rally appearance on behalf of Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama urged Americans to vote, saying "we can't afford another four years" of a Trump presidency.

Why it matters via Axios' Hans Nichols: With less than two weeks until Election Day, Obama made his case for Biden in Pennsylvania, a state that Trump's campaign knows he needs to win.