President Donald Trump ended nearly two weeks of speculation Monday night by naming Brett Kavanaugh, 53, as his nominee to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Unites States Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh beat out three other federal appeals judges who were considered finalists for Trump's nomination. The others were Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett—a charismatic Catholic—and Thomas Hardiman.
"This is one of the most profound responsibilities the President of the United States has," Trump said. "It is my honor and privilege that I nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. He is considered a judge's judge. He is one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time."
Kavanaugh delivered a heartfelt speech to the nation upon accepting the nomination.
"I am deeply honored and humbled to fill Anthony Kennedy's seat on the Supreme Court," Kavanaugh said. "I revere the Constitution. A judge must interpret the Constitution as written."
Fox News' Sean Hannity called this decision one of the "most important and consequential" Supreme Court decisions in America's history.
Kavanaugh is a longtime foe of former President Bill Clinton and a former aide to President George W. Bush. He has served on the District of Columbia Circuit Court since 2006 and owns a longtime record of conservative jurisprudence.
A former Kennedy clerk, Kavanaugh served under former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, whose investigation ultimately resulted in Clinton's impeachment. Kavanaugh was a lead author of the Starr report.
Kavanaugh is a favorite in many conservative legal circles, with many comparing him to Justice Clarence Thomas and former Justice Antonin Scalia.
Kavanaugh recently sided with the Trump administration when he dissented in a ruling that allowed an undocumented minor to undergo abortion. In that dissent, he accused the majority of devising a "new right for unlawful minors in U.S. government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand," politico.com recently reported.
Many have speculated that a major piece of Trump's agenda has been to overturn Roe v. Wade. Conservatives, however, have privately "expressed skepticism" that Kavanaugh might not be a reliable vote in potentially overturning the historical 1973 Supreme Court decision, politico.com reported.
Fox News recently reported that Kavanaugh is also a concern for conservatives because of his involvement in a 2011 ObamaCare case where he dissented against the ruling but acknowledged the Affordable Care Act's "individual mandate provision" could fit "comfortably within Congress' Taxing Clause power. Fox News said Kavanaugh's detractors say that language "helped provide the roadmap for the Supreme Court to uphold the mandate a year later."
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