Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

Carolyn Kaster  AP FILE

In anticipation of Trump filling the vacancy left by the retiring Anthony Kennedy - widely considered to be the court's "swing vote" - with a judge thought to have more conservative bona fides, many outside advocacy groups are already bracing for what will likely be a contentious confirmation battle.

As a result, Democrats - unable to block the nominee unless they lure some Republican senators to their side - have stressed the high stakes of the president's decision as they prepare for the confirmation battle ahead.

"I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice - Will be announced tonight at 9:00 P.M. (0100 GMT Tuesday)", Trump tweeted early Monday, after a weekend spent weighing his decision at his New Jersey golf club. White House officials have been prepping materials on those four, who have apparently been narrowed down from a list of 25 people that was screened by conservative groups. They need only 50 votes to confirm Mr. Trump's nominee because Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie. Luther Strange, cutting the GOP's Senate majority to 51-49. He works for Washington-based lobbying firm Covington & Burling.

But then the Senate and White House changed hands again.

The White House invited a number of senators to attend the Monday night announcement.

MARTIN: I think it's fair to say Republicans are pretty much thrilled about the potential nominees.

"The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices".

"Throughout legal circles he's considered a judge's judge, a true thought leader among his peers", Trump, who named conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to the court past year, told an applauding audience in the White House East Room.

McConnell's move was criticized as an unprecedented breach of political norms, but he got his wish when Mr. Trump was elected.

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What is clear is that Kavanaugh's confirmation process in a bitter midterm election year is going to be a bloody partisan fight.

#Breaking: President Trump is nominating Brett Kavanaugh to serve on the Supreme Court.

Hardiman went to Notre Dame and Georgetown.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an appellate judge from Maryland who has ruled against Obamacare and abortion rights in the past. But his supporters cite his experience and wide range of legal opinions. Plus, he is a former law clerk to Kennedy, who switched sides quite a bit during his time on the Supreme Court.

Kethledge serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati. A self-described introvert, Kethledge co-authored a book, "Lead Yourself First", in which he talks about how some of the world's great leaders learned from solitude and quiet. On Saturday, he tweeted that a "Big decision" was coming soon.

Dating back to the nineteenth century, the filibuster is a procedural device that lets a numerical Senate minority effectively terminate a nomination or legislation by creating, or threatening to create, endless debate. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the majority leader, has tried to warn the president through gentle nudging that Hardiman and Kethledge would be the safest choices for confirmation.

ROY BLUNT: They're good judges.

Hearings for the most recent nominees to the Supreme Court have lasted four or five days, though there were 11 days of hearings for Robert Bork's nomination in 1987. I do think the president has to think about who is the easiest to get confirmed here. "And I expect we will do that on sort of a normal timetable, a couple of months".

"We are urging people to do events in-district at Senate offices", said Elizabeth Beavers, the associate policy director of Indivisible, which is helping to organize the activities, which include a silent protest in Bangor, Maine and a letter-writing effort in Reno, Nevada.

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