Alabama Democrat keeping an open mind on Trump's SCOTUS pick

Alabama Democrat keeping an open mind on Trump's SCOTUS pick

US President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, setting the stage for a bruising confirmation battle.

Support for nomination: Barrett also served as a law clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who is beloved by conservatives.

Donald Trump has named Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee for the United States supreme court, lighting the fuse of an acrimonious political battle and potentially setting the court on a more conservative course for decades to come.

CURRENT JOB: Since 2006: Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He then introduced Kavanaugh, who shook hands with Trump before standing with his wife and two daughters.

Kavanaugh, 53, is a Yale Law School graduate who clerked for the retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

As of Monday morning, Trump was still deciding among Judges Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett. Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri told NBC's "Meet The Press" the president should take note of that political reality in his choice.

But his supporters cite his experience and wide range of legal opinions. Senate Democrats must use everything in their power to keep Trump's unsafe nominees off the Supreme Court.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of SC and Roy Blunt of Missouri said Sunday that they believe any of the top four contenders could get confirmed by the GOP-majority Senate.

After Republicans won control of the Senate in 2014, McConnell became leader — and the confirmation of Obama's nominees started grinding to halt.

More than any other accomplishment, including the passage of the GOP's tax cuts, the remaking of the judiciary is fast becoming the cornerstone of the Republican leader's legacy. Rand Paul of Kentucky had expressed concerns but tweeted that he looked forward to meeting with Kavanaugh "with an open mind". Whoever is picked will face opposition from Democrats.

The White House invited a number of senators to attend the Monday night announcement. Some, like Democratic SEn.

Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin of West Virginia will be prime targets.

Meanwhile, liberal groups are already calling on two moderate Republican senators - Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - to reject the nominee.

Leo said that rallying Democrats on the issue of Roe v. Wade is a "scare tactic".

That kind of thinking could prove helpful to Trump, who has been dogged by accusations of sexual harassment, as well as possible obstruction of justice in the Russian Federation probe now being led by special counsel Robert Mueller. He said that evangelicals want to see more conservative justices appointed, in case one doesn't vote as predicted on their most cherished issues, including abortion and matters of sexuality.

Besides records from his 12 years as an appellate judge, Kavanaugh was a top adviser to President George W. Bush and worked for Kenneth Starr on the years-long Whitewater investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton. In a 2009 article in The Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh wrote that presidents are under such extraordinary pressure they "should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office".

That view has assumed fresh relevance, with Trump facing several civil lawsuits as well as a Russia-related criminal investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

On abortion, Kavanaugh voted in October to delay an abortion for a teenage immigrant who was in government custody. "At this critical juncture, with so many rights and liberties at stake, US Senators and the American people should expect an affirmative statement of support for the personal liberties of all Americans from the next Supreme Court nominee".

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, said Monday he will oppose appointing whoever President Donald Trump nominates to the Supreme Court.

His appointment will not change the ideological tilt of a court that already has a 5-4 conservative majority, but he could nevertheless shift the bench further right.

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