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. “Mr Kavanaugh has served since 2006 on the influential US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was formerly a White House aide under George W Bush.
He previously worked for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Democratic former president Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Mr Kavanaugh has not expressed outright opposition to Roe v Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalised abortion nationwide, but he has given some indications of where he might stand. Last year, the DC Circuit Court ruled that an undocumented immigrant teenager in detention was entitled to seek an abortion. Mr Kavanaugh objected, saying that her right to have an abortion was “based on a constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong”.
He did, however, write in his dissent to the ruling that the court must recognise Roe v Wade and another abortion rights case “as precedents we must follow”.