President Trump rocked the nation Monday evening by announcing his nominee for our next U.S. Supreme Court justice: Brett Kavanaugh
Kavanaugh, if confirmed by the Senate, will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of this month.
Kavanaugh, 53, is a long-time federal appeals judge in Washington, D.C., according to Fox News. Justin Walker, writing for the National Review, called Kavanaugh — a Catholic — a “warrior for religious liberty.” There’s a debate among conservatives over whether a decision he made in 2011 led to the Supreme Court’s approval of ObamaCare, but Walker believes it definitely did not.
Trump had many incredible things to say about Kavanaugh.
"Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law," the president said. "A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh currently teaches are Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown. Throughout legal circles, he is considered a judge's judge — a true thought-leader among his peers."
"He is a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time," Trump continued. "A just like Justice [Neil] Gorsuch, he excelled as a clerk for Justice Kennedy."
"Judge Kavanaugh has devoted his life to public service. For the last 12 years, he has served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals with distinction, authoring over 300 opinions, which have been widely admired for their skill and insight and rigorous adherence to the law," the president added. "Among those opinions are more than a dozen that the Supreme Court has adopted as the law of the land."
"Beyond his great renown as a judge, he is active in his community. He coaches CYO [Catholic Youth Organization] basketball, serves meals to needy families, and, having learned from his mom who is a school teacher in D.C., tutors children at local elementary schools," Trump said as Kavanaugh's family beamed.
"There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving," the president declared.
Speaking from the White House, Trump called the nomination of a Supreme Court justice one of the most profound decisions a president can make. He emphasized that nominating a justice who upholds the Constitution "as it is written" is crucial. He also thanked Kennedy for "a lifetime of distinguished service."
So what’s next?
Kavanaugh will next go in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for a few days. There Kavanaugh will talk about why he is qualified and answer the committee’s questions.
Then, the committee will send Kavanaugh off to the Senate with their favorable, unfavorable, or — in the case of Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991 — neutral recommendation. Historically, they’ve given a favorable recommendation in almost every case.
The committee is made up of 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats. The ranking Republican is Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and the ranking Democrat is Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
After the committee recommendation, the Senate will vote on whether to confirm Kavanaugh. He only needs a simple majority of 51 votes. The Senate is made up of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.
The big question is if every one of the anti-Trump or centrist Republicans will side with Trump’s nominee. If only one votes “no” and there’s a tie, Vice President Mike Pence will cast the deciding vote.
Another factor is the Democrats, who are expected to put up a huge fight and use every trick and tactic they can think up in order to block Trump’s nominee.
Who Kavanaugh beat out for Trump’s nomination
Kavanaugh beat out Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett, and Thomas Hardiman. Who are they?
Raymond Kethledge, 51, is a Sixth Circuit judge who has been endorsed by conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt and the Wall Street Journal, according to Politico. He’s an evangelical Christian with an Ivy League education, Religion News Service reported. Writing for The Federalist, Phillip Williamson said Kethledge “fiercely defends religious liberty” and respects the Founding Father’s desire to guarantee religious freedom. Conservative critics have primarily gone after him for not being hard-line enough on immigration, the Daily Wire reported.
Amy Coney Barrett, a 46-year-old wife and mother of seven children, has an extensive list of qualifications for being considered one of the top legal minds in our nation, but the left has been attacking her Roman Catholic faith. They’ve been trying to paint her as “a dangerous religious extremist.” A Seventh Circuit federal judge, Barrett is a conservative Constitutional originalist who has been endorsed by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and praised by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Criticism of her has mainly centered around her only having a year’s worth of experience as a federal judge.
Thomas Hardiman, 53, is a Third Circuit federal judge who is a devout Catholic and has gained the approval of gun rights advocates for standing up for handgun owners in New Jersey, Politico reported. Hardiman rose from working-class taxi driver to judge, an inspirational story that many think helped him catch Trump’s eye, according to Cleveland.com. His conservative critics say he’s too soft on illegal immigration, isn’t a Constitutional originalist, and is liked by too many Democrats.