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Lawmakers react as Trump picks Kavanaugh as Supreme Court nominee

Published: Jul. 9, 2018 at 5:34 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 10, 2018 at 12:28 PM CDT
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(KFVS/AP) - President Donald Trump has announced his pick for the Supreme Court.

President Donald Trump nominated the influential conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The 53-year-old federal appellate judge has served in Washington D.C. for the past 12 years.

The four top contenders were believed to include federal appeals judges Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman.

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Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring.

From the office of the White House Press Secretary:

Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy's assumption of senior status.

The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh comes after a selection process marked by an historic degree of transparency, including the President's public disclosure of a list of 25 highly qualified potential nominees to the Supreme Court.

Judge Kavanaugh has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006, authoring more than 300 opinions, including 11 that have been affirmed by the Supreme Court. Before becoming a judge, he served in the George W. Bush administration, first as an Associate Counsel and then Senior Associate Counsel, and subsequently as Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary. A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Kennedy, and for judges on the Third and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals. Judge Kavanaugh also served as a Counsel for the Office of Independent Counsel under Ken Starr and as a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.

Judge Kavanaugh has earned a reputation as a brilliant jurist with impeccable legal credentials, and he is universally respected for his intellect, as well as his ability to persuade and build consensus. Judge Kavanaugh lives in Maryland with his wife Ashley and their two daughters.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson issued the following statement today following President Trump's Supreme Court nominee:

"Thanks to President Trump, America is one step closer to a Supreme Court that reflects our values. The Senate should move swiftly to confirm Judge Kavanaugh who is eminently qualified and a proven conservative. The Supreme Court should interpret the law, not make the law. This is an enormous opportunity to make lasting change for our next generation."

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today released the following statement on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy:

"I look forward to thoroughly examining Judge Kavanaugh's record in the coming weeks as the Senate considers his nomination to replace Justice Kennedy."

McCaskill has voted in support of more than two-thirds of President Trump's judicial nominations since he took office in January 2017.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released the following statement regarding President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court:

"President Trump has made a superb choice. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is an impressive nominee who is extremely well qualified to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

"Judge Kavanaugh has sterling academic credentials. He is widely admired for his intellect, experience, and exemplary judicial temperament. He has won the respect of his peers and is highly regarded throughout the legal community. And his judicial record demonstrates a firm understanding of the role of a judge in our Republic: Setting aside personal views and political preferences in order to interpret our laws as they are written.

"I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh and to the Senate's fair consideration of his nomination, beginning with the work of Chairman Grassley and the Judiciary Committee. This is an opportunity for Senators to put partisanship aside and consider his legal qualifications with the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command."

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) released the following statement on President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as justice on the U.S. Supreme Court:

"Judge Kavanaugh is a highly-qualified nominee with an outstanding legal background. I look forward to learning more about his judicial record and talking with him about his judicial philosophy as the confirmation process moves forward."

Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) released this statement on Facebook:

I am pleased to see President Trump nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He is a highly qualified jurist with the temperament and mindset to interpret the U.S. Constitution in the spirit in which our Founders wrote it. I expect Judge Kavanaugh to showcase his sterling credentials and brilliant legal mind in the weeks ahead during confirmation hearings conducted in the Senate.

Josh Hawley, Missouri Attorney General, member of the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, and former Supreme Court Clerk, issued the following statement on President Trump naming Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the next Supreme Court nomination:

"Judge Kavanaugh is a remarkably qualified nominee for the Supreme Court. I have full confidence he will uphold the Constitution as the people wrote it, not impose his values from the bench. And that's what the people deserve. The balance of the court turns on this nomination and I applaud the President for his thoughtfulness on this decision "Unfortunately, the deciding vote may well rest with Senator Claire McCaskill – who has been wrong on Supreme Court nominees every single time. She supports liberal activists, voted for every single judicial nomination under President Obama, and opposed Justice Neil Gorsuch. She refuses to abandon Chuck Schumer and her left-wing allies, and we can expect this time to be no different. Missourians deserve a Senator who will fight for our way of life and support a constitutional conservative like Judge Kavanaugh."

U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court:

The next Justice will likely be the deciding vote on whether Americans will keep affordable health insurance for pre-existing conditions, whether women will lose the freedom to make their own health care choices, and whether we have a Constitution that protects the rights of all Americans or just big corporations and wealthy elites.

Brett Kavanaugh is a judge who consistently favors big business and undermines protections for consumers, workers, women, and the environment.  Replacing Justice Kennedy's swing vote with a far-right jurist like Judge Kavanaugh could change the rules in America.   Just as troubling, in light of the ongoing Russia investigation, Judge Kavanaugh has expressed staunch opposition to criminal investigations of sitting Presidents.

With a subservient Republican Congress and a far-right Supreme Court, there is a real risk that the worst impulses of the Trump presidency will go unchecked.  The stakes for this nomination are historic.

U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement:

"The newfound urgency to fill Justice Kennedy's Supreme Court seat from many of the same people who refused to even consider President Obama's nominee is transparent opportunism that represents everything Americans hate most about politics today. We can't ignore the reality that Donald Trump wants to take us back to a time when insurers could refuse coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or that he promised to only nominate Justices who would put the government back in between women and their doctors.

"If he succeeds, it won't only affect people like me who could be prevented from having children through IVF; the impacts will be felt by everyone. Whoever replaces Justice Kennedy will play a critical role in the lives of all women and every single American. Moving forward, I will thoroughly review Judge Kavanaugh's rulings, evaluate his qualifications and look for him to make it clear to the American public that he would be independent, not simply a rubber stamp for Donald Trump's whims, if he hopes to earn my support."

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