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Donald Trump picks Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court

U.S. President Donald Trump talks with Judge Brett Kavanaugh his Supreme Court nominee, and his family in the East Room of the White House, on Monday in Washington.   | Photo Credit: AP

President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, an influential conservative who was a White House aide to former President George W Bush, for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Monday. Mr. Kavanaugh faces a tough battle for confirmation by the U.S Senate, where the Republicans have a narrow a majority. If confirmed, Mr. Kavanaugh, 53, would replace long-serving conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement on June 27 at age 81.

Appointed by Mr. Bush,  Mr. Kavanaugh has been a judge of the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006, where he has burnished his conservative credentials as a judge for 12 years now. The nine-member Supreme Court leans conservative already with a 5-4 division. But retiring justice Mr. Kennedy has often sided with liberal causes, a practice that his replacement may not necessarily follow. Indian American judge Amul Thapar was on the short list of candidates considered by Mr. Trump but did not make the final cut.  

Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation then was also fraught, as Democrats resisted him. He was nominated in 2003, and the confirmation process took three years. The Democrats and progressive groups have already announced their opposition to his nomination. “Judge Brett Kavanaugh represents a direct and fundamental threat to [the] promise of equality and so I will oppose his nomination to the Supreme Court,” said Senator Kamala Harris of California, a member of the Judiciary Committee. “Specifically, as a replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy, his nomination presents an existential threat to the health care of hundreds of millions of Americans,” she said. Justice Kennedy had voted in support of Obamacare while Mr. Kavanaugh has shown disapproval of the programme, at least partially. 

Judicial appointments is an issue that unites establishment Republicans and the supporters of Mr. Trump who challenge them on other matters. This is the second nomination that Mr. Trump makes to the SCOTUS, and he has said he hopes to leave an imprint on the U.S judicial system for several decades to come. Neil Gorsuch, nominated by Mr. Trump last year, is only 51 now. Mr. Gorsuch and Mr. Kavanaugh if confirmed, could be on the bench for three decades. SCOTUS justice are appointed for life. While Mr. Trump has challenged the Republican orthodoxy on foreign and economy policy, his attempts to steer the course of the U.S judiciary has been in line with it. All his judicial appointments have been drawn from a community of conservative legal fraternity nurtured by Republican groups. Growing up and working in Washington DC, Mr. Kavanaugh has been part of the establishment that is target of Mr. Trump’s ire on most questions.

Mr. Kavanaugh underscored his Catholic upbringing - he was an altar-boy - and his love for basketball and family, at a prime time event at the White House where Mr. Trump announced the nomination. “My judicial philosophy is straightforward: a judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statutes as written. And a judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history, and tradition and precedent,” Mr. Kavanaugh said.


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 1:13:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/donald-trump-picks-brett-kavanaugh-for-supreme-court/article24376730.ece

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