10 July 2018Hot off the Press
US President Donald Trump announced his nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the country’s Supreme Court on Monday (local time), to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy who last month announced his retirement from the Court effective from 31 July.
Judge Kavanaugh is presently a judge of the Federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
He is a graduate of Yale Law School and clerked for the outgoing Justice Kennedy.
In making the nomination, the President said that what mattered to him is “not a judge’s political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require.”
“I am pleased to say that I have found, without a doubt, such a person. There is no one more qualified for this position and no one more deserving.”
The President lauded Judge Kavanaugh’s “impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and … proven commitment to equal justice under the law.”
The Senate must confirm the appointment for Judge Kavanaugh to join the Supreme Court, and he will meet with Senators on Tuesday (local time).
In thanking the President for the nomination, Judge Kavanaugh stated his belief “that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic.”
“If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law,” he promised.
Judge Kavanaugh worked for former President George W Bush as a White House aide during the 2000 Presidential Election recount, after which he was appointed to the DC Appeals Court.
Former President Bush commended the nomination: “President Trump has made an outstanding decision in nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Brett is a brilliant jurist who has faithfully applied the Constitution and laws throughout his 12 years on the DC Circuit.
“He is a fine husband, father, and friend — and a man of the highest integrity. He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.”
However, the Senate is divided over the nomination, with Republicans largely pledging their support, and Democrats being suspicious and cautious.
Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said he would oppose any nominee put forward by Trump on the basis that the shortlist was provided “by far-right organisations like the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society.”
“Justices who sit on the most important court in the world should not be selected by corporate interests and extreme right organisations.”
Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the House of Representatives, which is not involved in the confirmation process, said the nomination was “a clear and disrespectful assault on the fundamental rights of women and on the quality, affordable health care of the American people”, referencing Judge Kavanaugh’s “long history of opposition to the full, fundamental right of every woman to make her own decisions about her body, family and health care.”
Ms Pelosi expressed concern that the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh may further “the President’s bitter campaign to overturn Roe v Wade”, a landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that held a woman has the right to terminate a pregnancy in certain circumstances.
Of the shortlist, however, which included three other judges, Judge Kavanaugh is considered more moderate than the other contenders, and has not expressed outright opposition to Roe v Wade.