Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

These two judges are favorites to win Supreme Court nod

These two judges are favorites to win Supreme Court nod

President Trump, after less than two weeks of deliberations, is set to announce Monday night his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a choice that could well affect the court, and American jurisprudence, for a generation.

"He is a brilliant jurist, with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time", Trump said in his prime-time televised White House announcement.

Trump past year appointed Neil Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices, after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. The 53-year-old was born in MA, but started his career in Pittsburgh.

Penny Nance, president, and CEO of Concerned Women for America, said in a statement, "Judge Brett Kavanaugh is abundantly qualified to sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court".

Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin - all up for re-election in November - were the only three Democratic senators who voted past year in favor of confirming Trump's first high-court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who was approved in a 54-45 vote.

It's a promise that has helped cement near-record levels of support for his presidency from Republican voters - and for good reason.

Trump's approach to naming a new Supreme Court justice has unnerved some Democrats.

All of Trump's top candidates were considered more solidly conservative than Kennedy.

Within Republican ranks, Senator Susan Collins has already signalled she could break with her party if Trump taps someone hostile to the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that guaranteed women's access to abortion. He also served in the George W. Bush White House.

Judge Kavanaugh recently voiced disagreement with a court decision allowing an undocumented teenage immigrant to have an abortion.

The White House would love to have the Democrats' votes for confirmation.

"My judicial philosophy is straightforward: a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law".

"I'm getting very close to making a final decision", Trump said. "And at all times, I'll work to maintain the absolute independence of the judiciary, which in my judgment is the crown jewel of our constitutional democracy". If confirmed by the Senate. But if Kavanaugh is Trump's choice, he likely would step away from pending cases.

With Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona, Republicans can now only muster 50 votes. Trump signed Kavanaugh's nomination papers Monday evening in the White House residence.

Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, told CBS News' Nancy Cordes that any of the four candidates would be great justices, and he expects the eventual nominee to sail through their confirmation hearing and vote. "We must do everything we can to stop this nomination". While that argument won't sway Republicans, their strategy could stiffen Democratic resolve to oppose the nominee. Young said the nominee is a well-respected judge with a strong record of honoring the Constitution and upholding the rule of law. "This is a big burden on him to show me he can be fair and objective".

Top contenders had included federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman, as well as Kavanaugh, who is now a federal appellate judge in the District of Columbia.

Trump has often clashed with Republican leadership, even publicly, and his decision to nominate Kavanaugh could stir up problems between him and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Of the court's liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and Stephen Breyer turns 80 next month, so Trump may well get another opportunity to cement conservative dominance of the court for years to come.

Savoring the suspense, Trump has sought to keep people guessing in the final hours, hoping to replicate his successful announcement of Justice Neil Gorsuch a year ago.

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