SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces contentious confirmation hearing

President Trump submitted Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Senate on Monday, July 9, to replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kavanaugh, 53, is currently a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and known as a consistently conservative judge.

Describing Kavanaugh as “one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time,” President Trump said of his nominee:

“What matters is not a judge’s political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require. I am pleased to say I have found without doubt such a person.”

Likely to set up a fierce confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh’s nomination is expected to inspire a considerable effort by interest groups on both sides of the political divide to influence lawmakers involved in hearings. Following his nomination, 34 of Kavanaugh’s 48 former law clerks signed a letter addressed to Senate leaders endorsing his confirmation, as well as over 100 high school classmates and alumni in a separate document.

A Bethesda, Md., native, Kavanaugh attended Georgetown Preparatory School, and later received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale University.

Following his graduation from law school, Kavanaugh clerked for appeals-court justices Alex Kozinski and Walter Stapleton, later returning to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kavanaugh also briefly worked as an attorney in the office of the U.S. solicitor general, and later assisted Ken Starr in investigating then-President Clinton for impeachment-worthy crimes related to the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals, serving as the Starr Report’s primary author. 

Kavanaugh briefly entered private practice in the law firm Kirkland & Ellis before joining the Bush White House legal office in 2001, working on the vetting of judicial appointees.

In 2003, President Bush nominated Kavanaugh to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Following a three-year delay, Kavanaugh was seated on the appeals court in 2006 after hearings in which he received the backing of 57 senators.  As a judge on the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh has authored over 300 opinions.

Kavanaugh’s legal opinions have been adopted by the High Court 13 times, reversed only once.

Despite calls from Democrats to stall hearings until after November’s mid-term elections, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who described Kavanaugh as a legal “all-star,” predicted the nominee will be confirmed and seated before the Supreme Court opens its new term on Oct. 1.

 

[CNN] [Reuters] [Washington Examiner] [Politico] [Photo courtesy AFP/Getty Images via NPR]