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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.

Go deeper

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook refers Trump ban to independent Oversight Board for review

Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's independent Oversight Board has accepted a referral from the platform to review its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Trump.

Why it matters: While Trump critics largely praised the company's decision to remove the then-president's account for potential incitement of violence, many world leaders and free speech advocates pushed back on the decision, arguing it sets a dangerous precedent for free speech moving forward.