Trump Names Kavanaugh For Supreme Court
US President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, setting the stage for a bruising confirmation battle.
In a primetime announcement at the White House, Mr Trump praised his pick as a “brilliant jurist”.
The nominee, a District of Columbia appeals court judge, is a former adviser to ex-President George W Bush.
The decision has far-reaching implications for America on everything from abortion to guns to immigration.
This is Mr Trump’s second Supreme Court appointment, potentially allowing him to shape the US for a generation.
The president said: “Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.”
The appointee would replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, who announced last month that he will retire soon.
At Monday night’s announcement, Mr Kavanaugh, 53, thanked President Trump and said he had “witnessed firsthand your appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary.”
The nominee must be confirmed by the Senate, which the Republicans narrowly control 51-49.
A nominee needs a simple majority of 51 votes to be confirmed. With Senator John McCain battling cancer, Republicans can currently only muster 50 votes.
Before a full vote in the chamber, the prospective justice will be grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee in hearings that can go on for days.
The White House and Republicans want the nomination confirmed by November’s mid-term elections.
Conservative activists will begin running ads pressuring politically vulnerable Democratic senators to vote for confirmation.
Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia will be prime targets, as they face tough re-election campaigns in their conservative states this year.
Meanwhile, liberal groups are calling on two moderate Republican senators – Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska – to reject the nominee.
Ms Collins has said she will not vote for any candidate who threatens abortion rights.