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Trump Names Brett Kavanaugh For Open Supreme Court Seat - Protests Instantly Begin

Trump's SCOTUS nomination on Monday follows his successful pick of Justice Neil Gorsuch last year

Protests turned tense at the steps of the Supreme Court Monday night after President Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The nominee made no mention of his leanings in brief remarks at the White House, where he was joined by his wife and their two daughters. The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, 53, a federal appeals court judge, former aide to President [sic] George W. Bush and onetime investigator of President Bill Clinton, was not a huge surprise, given his conservative record, elite credentials and deep ties among the Republican legal groups that have advanced conservatives for the federal bench.

Top contenders had included federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman, as well as Kavanaugh, who is now a federal appellate judge in the District of Columbia.

Kavanaugh has written roughly 300 opinions in his 12 years as a judge, penned several law-review articles and spoken at law-school and Federalist Society events across the country. "A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law", he said.

As McConnell plans a flood of judicial confirmation votes this summer and fall, the GOP is hoping to run again on the success of Trump's judicial confirmations.

Trump's nominees edged out three other reported frontrunners: Raymond Kethledge, a strict interpreter of the US Constitution; Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic and social conservative; and Thomas Hardiman, a staunch gun rights advocate. Trump's tax cuts will fade with time, regulations erased by this president can be rewritten by the next one, spats with foreign leaders can be patched up, but judicial appointments - and their court rulings - endure for decades. Senate Republicans hold only a 51-49 majority, leaving them hardly any margin if Democrats hold the line.

Manchin is one of ten Senate Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won.

Abolishing the agency has become a campaign rallying cry of activist liberal elements of the Democratic Party.

Moderate Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski said they could carefully vet Kavanaugh before deciding how to vote.

"I don't think we've gotten this close to an announcement before without it leaking", CNN's Jake Tapper said. Democrats who were invited but declined included Sens.

Mr Kennedy, a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will get the first chance to question the nominee, predicted a "rough, tough, down in the dirt, ear-pulling, nose-biting fight".

A photo of Kavanaugh appearing chummy with former Bush political strategist Karl Rove, who has been critical of Trump, has been tweeted around by Trump supporters.

Democrats in the past also have pointed to Kavanaugh's work for Bush during the 2000 recount fight, a controversy that was resolved only after the conservative-majority Supreme Court sided with Bush over Democratic candidate Al Gore, settling the election outcome. At the top of that list is abortion.

Kennedy's replacement also could be more willing to allow states to carry out executions and could support undoing earlier court holdings in the areas of racial discrimination in housing and the workplace.

The official said Mr Trump decided on Mr Kavanaugh, a front-runner throughout the search process, because of his large body of jurisprudence cited by other courts, describing him as a judge that other judges read.

In his 2006 confirmation hearing to become a federal judge, he said, "I would follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully" because it's "binding precedent" that has been "reaffirmed many times".

Kavanaugh worked for Starr, whose investigation of Clinton helped spur an effort by congressional Republicans in 1998 and 1999 to impeach the Democratic president and remove him from office. It was McConnell, according to one GOP official, who suggested that Arizona's former Sen.

The nominee is an only child who credits his mother for his career path. Martha Kavanaugh taught high-school history before returning to school for her law degree.

Kavanaugh's views on presidential power and abortion are expected to draw particular attention in his confirmation hearing.

In 2009, Kavanaugh said Congress should enact a law to defer legal action against a president until after he had left office.

On abortion, Kavanaugh voted in October to delay an abortion for a teenage immigrant who was in government custody.

If confirmed, the appellate judge would become the second young, conservative jurist Trump has put on the top USA court during his first term. Republicans now have a 51-to-49 majority in the Senate, and even if the ailing John McCain (Ariz.) doesn't vote, if they hold the rest of their members (and they will) the result would at worst be a 50-50 tie that Vice President Pence would break.