MILLHISER: Kavanaugh nomination a win for Republicans - and a blow to democracy

Judge Thomas Hardiman smiles during a meeting with The Associated Press in Philadelphia. | AP

Kavanaugh and Gorsuch served as law clerks to Kennedy at the same time early in their legal careers.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the president "outsourced" his decision to the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, which first helped Trump compile a list of 25 prospective Supreme Court justices during the 2016 campaign.

Barrett is among four federal judges on Trump's list of finalists that includes Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would be the second justice installed by Trump, who nominated Neil Gorsuch to the court shortly after being inaugurated a year ago.

The official said Trump decided on Kavanaugh, a front-runner throughout the search process, because of his large body of jurisprudence cited by other courts, describing him as a judge that other judges read.

President Donald Trump is set to announce his Supreme Court pick Monday evening.

On Monday, Trump phoned retiring Justice Kennedy to inform him that his former law clerk would be nominated to fill his seat.

Donald Trump urged to avoid controversial Supreme Court pick
Kavanaugh's close ties to the Bush family, stemming from his five years in the White House under President George W. The source told Reuters that Amy Coney Barrett of IN , a Trump-appointed judge on the Chicago-based 7th U.S.


Kavanaugh has been a judge on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006.

"Republicans are holding four lottery tickets, and all of them are winners", Graham said. Three Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won by double digits in 2016 - Indiana Sen.

Signaling the fight ahead on abortion rights, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement: "There's no way to sugarcoat it: With this nomination, the constitutional right to access safe, legal abortion in this country is on the line". The court's senior liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is 85.

Kavanaugh is likely to be more conservative than Justice Kennedy on a range of social issues.

With the judges on the short list all no older than 53, the person selected could realistically be expected to serve for three decades or more and could be involved in the reconsideration of significant precedents, including the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion-rights decision. Rand Paul of Kentucky had expressed concerns but tweeted that he looked forward to meeting with Kavanaugh "with an open mind". Senate rules now requires only a majority of 51 votes to advance a Supreme Court nomination.

The president has also spoken with confidence about how his Supreme Court pick will work out. Kennedy provided a decisive vote in 2015 on an important fair housing case.

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"Former Sen. Jon Kyl has agreed to serve as the Sherpa for the President's nominee to the Supreme Court", White House spokesman Raj Shah said Monday afternoon.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, though with ailing Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona they now can muster only 50 votes.

Kyl now works as a visiting fellow for the American enterprise institute and as senior of counsel for Covington & Burling, a high powered Washington D.C. law firm.

"If all the Republicans stick together", Chris Coons, a Democratic senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, "they will be able to confirm whomever President Trump nominates".

Gorsuch took office in April 2017, succeeding the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. The president spent the days leading up to his announcement discussing the pros and cons of various contenders with aides and allies. I do think the president has to think about who is the easiest to get confirmed here. He was also said to be strongly interested in Kavanaugh.

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