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 TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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 McConnellOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate Democrats say White House isn't budging in coronavirus relief stalemate 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 RyanTrump slams 'rogue' Sasse after criticism of executive actions Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey 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 McCainTrump rips Bill Maher as 'exhausted, gaunt and weak' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence Sarah Palin offers Harris advice: 'Don't get muzzled' 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 SasseBig Ten conference officially cancels fall football season due to coronavirus Ex-NFL receiver Rep. Anthony Gonzalez: Big Ten skipping football season could be 'catastrophic' for athletes Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump 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 ThuneTrump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Trump says he'll accept nomination from either White House or Gettysburg 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 LeeDavis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Overnight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure 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 CollinsProgressive Jewish group endorses Biden Poll: Gideon leads Collins by 8 points in Maine Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report - Speculation over Biden's running mate announcement 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 PaulWatchdog calls for probe into Gohmert 'disregarding public health guidance' on COVID-19 Massie plans to donate plasma after testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies After trillions in tax cuts for the rich, Republicans refuse to help struggling Americans 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."