US President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, setting the stage for a bruising confirmation battle. The president's announcement from the East Room of the White House during prime time television hours began with an expression of gratitude for Kennedy's service-then he announced a former Kennedy clerk to take the justice's spot, judge Brett Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, 24 percent bet on Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and 7 percent bet on Judge Raymond Kethledge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Hours after President Trump made known his choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy with Kavanaugh, Akhil Amar, considered one of America's foremost legal minds, pitched in, calling him a "superb nominee" and warning that any Democratic opposition to him would be a mistake. "Substantively, a debate continues to bubble about whether a Supreme Court nominee's judicial philosophy is a fair basis for inquiry by the Senate (and for voting against a nomination), or whether the confirmation process should focus only on whether a nominee meets objective criteria pertaining to qualifications, temperament, ethical propriety, and the like", he wrote.
"I'm convinced if the president gave every American five million dollars, the left would still oppose him", Hannity said. Kavanaugh's views on presidential power and abortion are expected to draw particular attention in his confirmation hearing.
Kavanaugh, along with two GOP-appointed colleagues wrote: "The Government has permissible interests in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion", adding that the decision was "a radical extension of the Supreme Court's abortion jurisprudence".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a vote on the nomination before the November midterms, ensuring the outcome will be an issue before voters.
Several Democrats have already announced they will oppose Kavanaugh's nomination citing concerns about his commitment to protecting health care laws and abortion rights given Trump's repeated promises to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Trump also met with Republican Sens. Ten Democrats from states that Trump won are up for re-election this fall and will be under tremendous pressure to back the president's nominee. The President introduced me tonight as Judge Kavanaugh.
"I find it somewhat troubling that even before the President named Judge Kavanaugh that there were those who were roundly condemning the nominee without knowing who the nominee is", Murkowski said.
The president will unveil his choice from the White House at 9 p.m. EDT. The pick came less than two weeks after Kennedy announced he would retire.
It was Scalia's death in 2016, and the Republican blockade that followed, that created the vacancy for Trump to nominate a year ago Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Republicans have 51 votes in the Senate and need 50 votes to confirm Trump's nominee, assuming Vice President Mike Pence votes with them to break a tie.
Each choice represented a shift to the right compared to Kennedy, who has often cast a swing vote between conservatives and liberals on the nine-member bench.
A George W. Bush appointee to his current position, Kavanaugh had worked as counsel and staff secretary in the White House before his nomination. If confirmed, Kavanaugh is likely to be a reliable conservative vote who could weaken or imperil abortion rights, beef up support on the court for capital punishment and clamp down on the power of regulatory agencies.
When Obama nominated Kagan in 2010, the National Archives released 170,000 pages of records from her time working in President Bill Clinton's White House.
"He can still recite the section and seat numbers of the upper deck seats his dad had at RFK (Stadium) for the Redskins", said Travis Lenkner, a former Kavanaugh law clerk, of the Washington Redksins' home field until 1997. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. That decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year in a landmark ruling.
"While I have not met Judge Kavanaugh, I look forward to sitting down for a personal meeting with him", she said.