Legal Experts Say President Trump's Supreme Court Pick Reflects GOP Mainstream

Kavanaugh also wrote a dissent against a court decision to uphold the Obama administration's net neutrality rules requiring internet service providers to treat all content equally, arguing that the Federal Communications Commission had sidestepped Congress. Trump's FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, scrapped those rules in December. "Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law", Trump said.

He is the kind of judge a President Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney would have picked - a man with an established legal pedigree and a reputation as a reliably conservative jurist. He is also former law clerk to Kennedy. He was on Republican George W. Bush's team in the contentious Florida recount fight in the 2000 presidential election, then served as a senior official in Bush's White House.

Trump had said he hoped to make his decision by the time he returned Sunday from a weekend in New Jersey, but he told reporters en route to the White House that he needed more time. "I am deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court", Kavanaugh said in his first public statement as a nominee. "One of the Senate's highest constitutional responsibilities is to provide advice and consent on nominations to the Supreme Court, and I look forward to the Senate fulfilling this critical duty through a fair and thorough confirmation process", McCain said.

Trump previous year appointed Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices, after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty.

Many in the president's base simply do not trust Kavanaugh. In a 2009 article in The Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh wrote that presidents are under such extraordinary pressure they "should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office".

He added: "In particular, Congress might consider a law exempting a President - while in office - from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel".

Kavanaugh and his wife Ashley have two daughters.

Trump tapped Kavanaugh, 53, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of the month. A Ronald Reagan nominee, Kennedy joined the high court in February 1988.

The New York Times is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has weighed in and is trying to urge Trump to pick either Kethledge or Hardiman for ease of confirmation.

If confirmed, he is expected to be a reliable conservative vote who could weaken abortion rights, bolster support for capital punishment and curtail the power of regulatory agencies.

"I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh's nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same", Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer of NY said in a statement. Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer set the tone on Monday, warning women's rights are at stake.

"I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of the republic", Kavanaugh said when accepting the president's nomination, echoing the words Trump used moments before. Both senators backed Gorsuch's nomination. The judge indicated that on the high court he would faithfully interpret the Constitution as it is written, providing an unsurprising nod to originalism.

The Kentucky Republican faces a challenge in winning Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Republicans in the Senate need to be completely united on the pick, because of the delicate nature of their majority. Sen.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of SC and Roy Blunt of Missouri said Sunday that they believe any of the top four contenders could get confirmed by the GOP-majority Senate.

  • Leroy Wright