President Trump announced he’s nominating appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, as Justice Anthony Kennedy prepares to step down.
Kavanaugh, 53, who serves on the DC court of appeals, was high up on the list of possible choices for the president, and has been criticized from both sides of the aisle.
Kavanaugh worked for both Bush presidents, and former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli II once said, “The Bush lives loudly in Kavanaugh.”
Kavanaugh also worked for special counsel Ken Starr during his investigation into Bill Clinton.
He’s also been accused of writing the framework for the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s namesake healthcare law.
“The allegation from conservative critics is rooted in a 2011 ObamaCare case where Kavanaugh dissented against the ruling but acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act’s ‘individual mandate provision’ could fit ‘comfortably within Congress’ Taxing Clause power,” reports Fox News.
Kavanaugh also looked into the suicide of former Clinton White House attorney Vince Foster.
Kavanaugh is President Trump’s second Supreme Court Justice pick, and his appointment moves the court further to the right.
The Senate Republican Communications Center compiled clips of Democratic senators stating their opposition to Kavanaugh, some stated before Kavanaugh was even announced as Trump’s nominee.
“This mash up speaks volumes to the irrational and even hysterical response from the left – much of it even before Judge Kavanaugh was nominated,” said Antonia Ferrier, SRCC staff director.
Democratic senators who are up for reelection in 2018 and hail from states that Trump won in 2016 will face pressure from their own party to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The pressure might not be enough, as some of the red-state senators have come out and released tentative statements of support for Kavanaugh. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) praised Kavanaugh for having “all the right qualities” but stopped short of giving a full endorsement.
Kennedy announced in June he would retire, effective July 31, giving Trump the opportunity to make two appointments in two years to the nation’s highest court. The vacancy sets up a bitter confirmation fight right before the midterm elections, where Republicans only have a single vote majority in the Senate.
Despite the slim majority, Senate Republicans only need a simple majority to confirm him after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) changed the rules to allow it in the case of Supreme Court justice confirmations. McConnell’s move followed the precedent set by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), when he eliminated the filibuster for judicial nominees and presidential appointments back in 2013.