President Donald Trump this morning nominated conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, a decision set to tilt the top judicial body further to the right with momentous implications for American society.
Trump made the announcement in the East Room of the White House and rousing applause broke out as Kavanaugh entered with his wife and two daughters. Trump signed Kavanaugh's nomination papers Monday evening in the White House residence.
"The point of the list was to signal as strongly as possible to social conservatives and other members of the GOP constituency that he would pick somebody that they found reliable", said Michael Dorf, a former Supreme Court clerk of Justice Anthony Kennedy and a current law professor at Cornell.
Trump's nominee will replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy who will retire later this month.
Trump's success in confirming conservative judges, as well as a Supreme Court justice, has cheered Republicans amid concerns about his limited policy achievements and chaotic management style.
Though Kavanaugh does not support investigating a sitting president, the one issue that could still trouble Trump is the judge's belief in the role of impeachment. Over the course of Judge Kavanaugh's impressive legal career, he has built a reputation as a fair, independent, and mainstream judge who has earned widespread respect from his peers.
He's rooting for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose conservative views might draw the most ire from Democrats.
In the coming year the court might have to consider Trump's powers and rights in the investigation into links between his presidential campaign and Russian Federation, and whether he sought to obstruct that investigation. The president also has been considering federal appeals court Judges Raymond Kethledge and Thomas Hardiman.
On Monday night, however, McConnell applauded Trump's announcement. The president spent the days leading up to his announcement discussing the pros and cons of various contenders with aides and allies.
Conservatives will focus on moderate Democrats running for re-election in Trump country, such as Indiana's Joe Donnelly, North Dakota's Heidi Heitkamp and West Virginia's Joe Manchin.
Mr Trump is securing a conservative judiciary for a generation.
The liberal advocacy group Demand Justice will spend $5 million on ads through September and began airing spots Thursday in ME and Alaska aimed at pressuring Collins and Murkowski. Both support a woman's right to have an abortion and will be looking for assurances that the nominee would not overturn the Roe v Wade decision establishing abortion rights.
The president made the remarks before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey Sunday, saying he is considering four candidates and can't go wrong with any of them.
Kavanaugh teaches courses on the separation of powers, the Supreme Court, and national security at Harvard Law School and Yale Law School, and does charitable work at St. Maria's Meals program at Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C., according to his official biography. Kavanaugh responded that if confirmed, he would "follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully".
"I think Kavanaugh now raises too many questions", the source close to the White House said.
"As I have always said, I believe the Senate should hold committee hearings; Senators should meet with him, we should debate his qualifications on the Senate floor and cast whatever vote we believe he deserves".
Outside adviser Leonard Leo, now on leave from the Federalist Society, said on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that this kind of jockeying is standard, noting that "every potential nominee before announcement gets concerns expressed about them by people who might ultimately support them".
This is Mr Trump's second appointment to the highest court in the land, potentially allowing him to shape the USA for a generation after he leaves office.
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