Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is nominating influential conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as he seeks to shift the nation’s highest court further to the right.

Trump chose the 53-year-old federal appellate judge for the seat opened up by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh would be less receptive to abortion and gay rights than Kennedy was.

Kavanaugh is Trump’s second high court pick after Justice Neil Gorsuch. Kavanaugh and Gorsuch served as law clerks to Kennedy at the same time early in their legal careers.

Kavanaugh is a longtime fixture of the Republican legal establishment. He has been a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington since 2006. He also was a key aide to Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton and worked in the White House during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Background

A look at President Donald Trump’s new nominee for the Supreme Court:

NAME — Brett M. Kavanaugh.

AGE-BIRTHDATE: 53, Feb. 12, 1965.

BIRTHPLACE: Washington, D.C.

EDUCATION: B.A., Yale University, 1987; J.D., Yale Law School, 1990.

CURRENT JOB: Since 2006: Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

JOB HISTORY: 2003-06: Staff secretary to President George W. Bush; 2001-03: White House counsel’s office; 1999-2001, 1997-98: partner, Kirkland and Ellis law firm; 1998, 1994-97: associate counsel, Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr; 1993-94: law clerk, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy; 1992-93: Office of Solicitor General; 1991-92: law clerk, Judge Alex Kozinski; 1990-91: law clerk, Judge Walter Stapleton.

FAMILY — Wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh; two daughters.

QUOTE — “To be sure, the constitutional text does not answer all questions. Sometimes the constitutional text is ambiguous, such as the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. No doubt that’s true. But in far fewer places than one would think. As I like to say to my law clerks and my students, we should not strain to find ambiguity in clarity. And even in those areas where there is true ambiguity, that should not mean ‘anything goes.’ Just because there are two reasonable readings of a constitutional provision or a statute does not mean that the gates are open to a completely free-form approach.” — May 2014.

In this June 1, 2006 file photo, from left to right, President Bush, watches the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh as Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, far right, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington. Holding the Bible is Kavanaugh’s wife Ashley Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh is one of four judges thought to be President Donald Trump’s top contenders to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.
In this June 1, 2006 file photo, from left to right, President Bush, watches the swearing-in of Brett Kavanaugh as Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, far right, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington. Holding the Bible is Kavanaugh’s wife Ashley Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh is one of four judges thought to be President Donald Trump’s top contenders to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Pablo Martinez Monsivais | AP file