President Trump's four frontrunners to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy are excellent choices, despite some Republicans' concerns over ease of confirmation, according to Ed Whelan, a former clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia.
Hardiman, who was runner-up to Neil Gorsuch as the president's Supreme Court pick a year ago, made a comeback on Trump's shortlist this weekend in part because of the president's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who serves with Hardiman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
The pick is Trump's second to the nation's highest court, after he selected Justice Neil Gorsuch a year ago to replace Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016. Judge Kavanaugh, a nominee of President George W. Bush, has penned notable rulings on a host of topics, including environmental regulations, guns, the Affordable Care Act and abortion. Like Trump's first nominee a year ago, Justice Neil Gorsuch, Kavanaugh would be a young addition who could help remake the court for decades to come with rulings that could restrict abortion, expand gun rights and roll back key parts of Obamacare.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME has said she couldn't support a nominee that doesn't respect legal precedent and would overturn the "settled law" of Roe V. Wade.
He has been a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington since 2006.
Kavanaugh worked for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel 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. He has written roughly 300 opinions as a judge, authored several law journal articles, regularly taught law school classes and spoken frequently in public.
Kavanaugh may also face scrutiny from Senate Democrats over allegations that he misled the judiciary committee when nominated for the DC court of appeals over his knowledge of detention programs for enemy combatants in the Bush administration.
Three Democrats who were invited but declined were Sens. A more conservative majority could be more willing to uphold state restrictions on abortion, if not overturn the 45-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade decision that established a woman's constitutional right.
But that element of his record is among the reasons that some Republicans in Congress are concerned about a confirmation hearing in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Kavanaugh "a superb choice" and said senators would start meeting with him this week.
The White House announced Monday it has tapped former Arizona Sen. Kelly Ayotte acted as sherpa for then-nominee Neil Gorsuch ahead of his 54-45 confirmation vote to the Supreme Court in April of previous year.
During an appearance on MetroNews "Talkline", Capito said she wants Trump to nominate a judge similar to Gorsuch, who she voted to confirm past year. Kennedy ruled multiple times in favor of abortion rights during his 30-year Supreme Court tenure.
"Before a Supreme Court justice is confirmed to a lifetime position on the bench, West Virginians and the American people should have the ability to weigh in at the ballot box this November", she said at the time. The court's senior liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is 85.
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