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.

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