FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 09, 2018
Lifetime job: Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice
Read about Monday night's announcement. Share an interesting fact about the choice.
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What happens next, according to coverage from Washington?
President Trump began this week with a major decision – his choice of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for a U.S. Supreme Court seat opening with this month's retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, after 30 years on the nine-person court. The nominee, who needs U.S. Senate confirmation after televised hearings, was accvompanied by his wife and two daughters as he stood alongside the president at Monday night's White House announcement.
He's a 53-year-old federal appeals court judge and former aide to President George W. Bush. He's Trump's second appointment to a lifetime job on the nation's top court after Justice Neil Gorsuch last year. The men will become part of the president's long-term legacy because they're virtually sure to decide cases involving constitutional issues long after this president's one or two four-year terms.
The president spoke with more than a half-dozen candidates, according to news reports. Kavanaugh was a law clerk for Justice Kennedy in 1993-94. Senate approval should be smooth, as Republicans have 51 of the 100 seats -- plus a tiebreaking vote from the vice president, if needed. One Republican, John McCain of Arizona, is hospitalized with cancer. But a few Democratic senators from states Trump won are seen as potential "yes" votes out of political self-interest in an election year.
Kennedy, picked by President Ronal Reagan (a Republican) in 1988, usually voted with the court’s more conservative justices. But he became slightly more liberal in recent years and was a critical "swing vote." He wrote every majority decision for landmark gay rights cases, notably a 2015 ruling that lets same-sex couples marry in any state. He was among three justices who wrote a 1992 opinion that reaffirms the constitutional right to have an abortion. His June 27 departure announcement had been expected for months. "For three decades, he has been a guiding force on the court's most consequential decisions," Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith, a 1990-91 clerk for Justice Kennedy, writes in The Washington Post. The president would get to promote a third person to the influential job if 85-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, leaves the court during his presidency.
President says: "????"There is no one more qualified for this position and no one more deserving."
Senator says: "We should be able to work our way through the confirmation process sometime before early fall. We’re not assuming this is just going to be a straight party-line vote. I think there will be some Democrats who find the nominee attractive." – Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate majority leader
Columnist says: "I'm just old enough to remember a time when Supreme Court nominations weren't so bitter, and nominees could rally widespread bipartisan support." – Bret Stephens, New York Times
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