Hero or villain? Trump's court pick is in for a fight

A failed litmus test Trump taints his Supreme Court pick with his promise to anti-abortion extremists

President Donald Trump may relish his status as an outsider, but Kavanaugh is anything but.

Earlier in the day, Vice President Mike Pence says Kavanaugh would bring "impeccable credentials and character" to the Supreme Court. 12 years as a judge, almost 300 written opinions, a multitude of scholarly articles, a paperwork trail from his time in the Bush White House, and thousands of documents from when he served on the Starr investigation - has raised concerns Democrats will have an embarrassment of riches to use in questions during confirmation hearings, leading to a lengthened process and a tough confirmation vote. Still, they could try to sour the hearings by attacking Kavanaugh and trying to complicate the proceedings whenever possible. Two large wooden doors behind the podium slid open and Trump walked out. Issuing the invitations makes the lawmakers choose between humoring voters who think they should be bipartisan and others who feel they shouldn't condone Trump's pick.

In his time serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., Kavanaugh has consistently voted to roll back rules and regulations.

All face tough re-election races this November in states Trump won easily in 2016.

If confirmed by the Senate, Kavanaugh would fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote who sometimes sided with the court's liberals in key cases.

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In confirming Trump's first Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Republicans eliminated the 60-vote requirement to advance a nomination to the high court. "He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States".

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh shakes hands with President Donald Trump after he announced his nomination in the East Room of the White House on July 9, 2018 in Washington.

Interested in Supreme Court?

Asked repeatedly if some sort of deal between Trump and Kennedy was struck before Kennedy announced his retirement, Shah dodged, saying things like "I'm not going to read out private conversations that Justice Kennedy had with either members of the White House or the president", and, "Justice Kennedy can speak for himself". He is a Yale Law School graduate. He's taught "hundreds" of students, primarily at Harvard Law School, that the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution "protects individual liberty", he said, and added that he's "grateful" to have been hired by Justice Elena Kagan.

Judge Kavanaugh recently voiced disagreement with a court decision allowing an undocumented teenage immigrant to have an abortion. She described him as an independent and fair-minded judge.

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Kavanaugh replied: "I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully". Robin Shea, a partner at the employment law firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, said she's been "pretty pleased" overall with Kavanaugh's record.

Kavanaugh's description of the crucial role women have played in his life and career seemed directed at shoring up support with Republican Sens. Democrats plan to pressure two moderate Senate Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME, to oppose the nomination.

Activists said they could not match the sums conservative groups such as Judicial Crisis Network are expected to pour into campaigning around Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings. Kavanaugh said he would start meeting senators on Tuesday.

In the law review, Kavanaugh wrote, "Having seen first-hand how complex and hard that job is, I believe it is vital that the President be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with as few distractions as possible". "No single prosecutor, judge, or jury should be able to accomplish what the Constitution assigns to the Congress".

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