President Donald Trump has decided on his Supreme Court nominee, a person with knowledge of the situation revealed Monday, hours before a prime-time TV announcement that will ignite a fierce confirmation battle.
Kavanaugh's 12 years as an appellate judge, combined with his Yale pedigree, Supreme Court clerkship under Kennedy and top posts in the Bush administration, give him a resume his predecessors can't match. He also recognized Justice Antonin Scalia's wife Maureen, and Edwin Meese, President Reagan's attorney general, who was also in attendance.
He previously worked in the Bush White House as Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary and was a partner at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm.
Trump last week spoke with seven candidates, all drawn from a shortlist compiled by the conservative Federalist Society, about the Supreme Court.
Trump announced his pick fewer than two weeks after Kennedy said he would end his 30-year career on the bench. Kavanaugh now reportedly believes court proceedings against a sitting president should be deferred until after he or she is out of office.
The president has spent the days leading up to his announcement discussing the pros and cons of the various options with aides and allies. Luther Strange, cutting the GOP's Senate majority to 51-49.
Kavanaugh, who first appeared on Trump's roster of Federalist Society-approved potential Supreme Court nominees past year, began his remarks by applauding Trump's "appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary". Hardiman, who lives in Pennsylvania, is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, where he served at one time with Trump's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.
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Kavanaugh was considered one of the most likely choices to receive the nomination, though judges like Raymond Kethledge, Thomas Hardiman, and Amy Coney Barrett were also reported to have been up for consideration.
Kavanaugh also offered a nod to the Supreme Court justice he's expected to replace, saying "the framers established that the Constitution is created to secure the blessings of liberty".
Senate Democrats are sure to press Kavanaugh to explain his views on investigating and impeaching a president based on allegations of lies and a cover-up, something that could prove uncomfortable for Trump given the investigation under way by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
"I suspect this is going to be a rough, tough, down in the dirt, ear-pulling, nose-biting fight", Kennedy said.
Last week, Trump said that his greatest responsibility is to select a Justice who will faithfully interpret the Constitution as written.
Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who opposes abortion, announced on Monday he can not support a process that involved Trump's picking from a list of 25 candidates selected by conservatives and big business. And they certainly want Trump's choice confirmed before the November election, when Democrats have a long-shot chance of retaking the Senate majority. He added: "I think they'd be fine justices of the Supreme Court". Both support a woman's right to have an abortion and will be looking for assurances that the nominee would not overturn the Roe v Wade decision establishing abortion rights.
Speaking on Fox News Monday afternoon, Sen.
A favorite of the Republican legal establishment in Washington, Kavanaugh, 53, is a former law clerk for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.