President Donald Trump announced on Monday night that he’d selected Brett Kavanaugh, a judge who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as his nominee to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s soon-to-be vacant Supreme Court seat.
“Tonight, it is my honor and privilege to announce that I will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court,” Trump said, followed by a standing ovation.
The primetime announcement came just 12 days after Justice Kennedy said he would step down from the bench, where he was widely—if not always accurately—seen as the decisive swing vote between the court’s conservative and liberal wings.
Judge Kavanaugh, meanwhile, has a reputation as a hardline conservative, whose presence on the bench will decisively shift the court to the right.
“Mr. President, thank you,” Kavanaugh, who was accompanied by his wife and children, said. “I’m grateful to you, and I’m humbled by your confidence in me.”
Kavanaugh had been considered the frontrunner for Kennedy’s seat. The 52-year-old has served as an appellate judge since 2006, when he was nominated and confirmed under George W. Bush. He’s made a name for himself within conservative circles as a staunch supporter of gun rights, and opponent of abortion. Despite his frontrunner status, Kavanaugh’s selection had been in jeopardy in part due to his association with the Bush family, with whom president Trump has publicly feuded for years.
Judge Kavanaugh now heads to the Senate for confirmation, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already pledged to push though the nominee before the coming midterm elections in November. Democrats, meanwhile, have used the threat represented by Kavanaugh to Roe v Wade as their oppositional rallying point, using it to apply pressure to Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski for a potential “no” vote.
Update, 9:17 p.m. ET: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is already going on the attack, saying a confirmation for Kavanaugh puts reproductive rights “on the judicial chopping block.” Kavanaugh, a Catholic, is talking about how important religion is to him.
Update, 9:21 p.m.: Kill me.
Update, 9:41 p.m.: “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,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “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.”
North Dakota Sen. Heiti Heitkamp, who was one of three Democrats to vote for Neil Gorsuch, makes it clear that she could 100 percent see herself signing away the next thirty years to the fucking vultures.
“I have no doubt that many members of Congress and outside groups will announce how they stand on the nominee before doing their due dilligence and instead just take a partisan stance,” Heitkamp said in a statement posted on Twitter. “But that isn’t how I work.” Of course it isn’t. It might actually be useful to look at what Kavanaugh has done over the course of his career and think about it for three seconds!
Schumer, meanwhile, says he’ll oppose Gorsuch “with everything I have.”
Update, 9:46 p.m.: Here’s a good indicator of where Kavanaugh stands on one of the most important issues that could come before the Supreme Court, per voting rights journalist and expert Ari Berman.
Update, 10:08 p.m.: Hey look, it’s the only living president who might be worse than Donald Trump, just weighing in to say that Trump is doing a great job.
Update, 10:50 p.m.: Democrats are targeting two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, to try to block Trump’s nomination. Unsurprisingly, both made noncommittal statements tonight.
One Republican who has spoken out against Kavanaugh so far is libertarian Rep. Justin Amash, who called the pick “disappointing, particularly with respect to his 4th Amendment record.” Amash doesn’t get a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, but fellow libertarian Sen. Rand Paul does. Here’s Paul’s statement:
This is a developing story and is being updated.