Updated Jul 10, 2018 - Politics

Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

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.

What's next

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Sports

What's next: Trump's broader travel ban

A sign for International Arrivals is shown at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

President Trump is expected to announce an expanded travel ban this week, which would restrict immigration from seven additional countries — Nigeria, Myanmar, Sudan, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Tanzania, per multiple reports.

  • The announcement would come on the third anniversary of Trump's original travel ban, which targeted Muslim-majority nations, per Axios' Stef Kight.