GOP rallies around Kavanaugh as Supreme Court pick

GOP rallies around Kavanaugh as Supreme Court pick
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Republican leaders and lawmakers on Monday night were quick to rally around President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rosenstein at DOJ McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump is a Russian asset McCabe: Trump ‘undermining the role of law enforcement’ MORE's decision to nominate federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

GOP senators and other conservatives praised Kavanaugh's academic credentials and judicial track record and expressed optimism that he'd be promptly confirmed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Sanders: 'Not crazy' about nixing the Senate filibuster McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump MORE (R-Ky.), who reportedly warned Trump that other Supreme Court finalists would be easier to confirm than Kavanaugh, touted the judge's "intellect, experience, and exemplary judicial temperament."

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"He has won the respect of his peers and is highly regarded throughout the legal community. And his judicial record demonstrates a firm understanding of the role of a judge in our Republic: Setting aside personal views and political preferences in order to interpret our laws as they are written," McConnell said in a statement.

"This is an opportunity for Senators to put partisanship aside and consider his legal qualifications with the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command,” he added.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE (R-Wis.) called Kavanaugh an "excellent choice," and highlighted the judge's commitment to religious liberty.

"He has shown that Constitutional principles are the ultimate guide for his opinions. I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s swift confirmation in the Senate," Ryan said in a statement.

Trump tapped Kavanaugh, 53, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of the month. Prior to serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh worked under former President George W. Bush, as well as for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated former President Clinton in the 1990s.

Bush praised the nomination as well, saying in a statement that that his former aide "will make a superb Justice."

"Brett is a brilliant jurist who has faithfully applied the Constitution and laws throughout his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit," Bush said. "He is a fine husband, father, and friend — and a man of the highest integrity."

Kavanaugh's nomination is likely to set off a bitter fight in the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 edge. With Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMellman: Where are good faith and integrity? GOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech MORE (R-Ariz.) at home recovering from cancer treatment, the GOP can't afford any defections unless a Democrat votes to confirm Kavanaugh.

Some Republicans were quick to call out Democrats for their expected opposition to Trump's pick.

"Brett Kavanaugh is a serious jurist known for careful deliberation. This doesn’t matter to many on the left. Sadly, the #Resistance is going to try to bork him by portraying him as a cross between Lex Luthor and Darth Vader," Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Push for cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill | Court lets Dems defend ObamaCare | Flu season not as severe as last year, CDC says Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears MORE (R-Neb.) said in a statement.

"This isn’t the apocalypse — this is an opportunity to thoroughly review Kavanaugh’s record, debate this seriously, and celebrate our system of checks, balances, and limited government," he added.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThunePolls: Hiking estate tax less popular than taxing mega wealth, income Will Trump sign the border deal? Here's what we know Key GOP senator pitches Trump: Funding deal a 'down payment' on wall MORE (R-S.D.), the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, encouraged Democrats to “carefully review the qualification of this nominee instead of trying to solicit his opinions on political issues.”

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Push for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 MORE (R-Utah), who spoke with Trump last week about the court vacancy and was on the president's list of 25 potential nominees, praised Kavanaugh as a "smart and fair judge."

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTexas senator introduces bill to produce coin honoring Bushes GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 MORE (R-Maine), a centrist whom Democrats are expected to court to oppose Kavanaugh, said in a statement following his nomination that she will “conduct a careful, thorough vetting.” 

“I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh’s public hearing before the Senate judiciary Committee and to questioning him in a meeting in my office," Collins said in a statement.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Congress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Business, conservative groups slam Trump’s national emergency declaration MORE (R-Ky.), who declined an invitation to attend Trump's announcement Monday night, tweeted that he will meet with Kavanaugh "with an open mind."