Court Battles

GOP rallies around Kavanaugh as Supreme Court pick

Republican leaders and lawmakers on Monday night were quick to rally around President Trump’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 McConnell (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.”

{mosads}”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 Ryan (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 McCain (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 Sasse (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 Thune (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 Lee (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 Collins (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 Paul (R-Ky.), who declined an invitation to attend Trump’s announcement Monday night, tweeted that he will meet with Kavanaugh “with an open mind.”

Tags Ben Sasse Donald Trump John McCain John Thune Mike Lee Mitch McConnell Paul Ryan Rand Paul Susan Collins

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