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Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

Trump looks at Brett Kavanaugh from the podium
President Trump looks at Judge Brett Kavanaugh, standing with his family, as he announces him as his nominee to the Supreme Court. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced Monday night that he has nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a 53-year-old federal appeals court judge from Bethesda, Maryland, to the Supreme Court, replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Why it matters: As expected, Kavanaugh, if confirmed, will shift the court substantially to the right.

“Brett Kavanaugh is among the most distinguished and respected judges in the country, with nearly 300 opinions that clearly demonstrate fairness and a commitment to interpreting the Constitution as it’s written and enforcing the limits on government power contained in the Constitution.”
— Statement from Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society, who wrote Trump’s shortlist of nominees

What to watch: Vulnerable red state Senate Democrats, including Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, Joe Donnelly, Bill Nelson and Heidi Heitkamp; as well as moderate Republicans Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, will be the deciding votes on whether Kavanaugh gets confirmed.

Behind the scenes: Kavanaugh was the frontrunner from the start — and a favorite of White House Counsel Don McGahn.

His credentials: Kavanaugh 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.