While the president has been pondering his choice, his aides have been preparing for what is expected to be a tough confirmation fight. His first, Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the high court in April 2017.
He is also a robust supporter of the executive power of the presidency. He previously served as a clerk for Kennedy and worked for Ken Starr during Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton. Kavanaugh also taught at Harvard Law School, having been hired by current Supreme Court Justice, and Barack Obama nominee, Elena Kagan.
Trump announced his pick fewer than two weeks after Kennedy said he would end his 30-year career on the bench. Although Trump said he would not ask judicial candidates about their views on Roe directly, advocates on both sides of the abortion debate believe that ruling could be vulnerable once Kennedy's successor is seated. The Senate ultimately confirmed Gorsuch by a 54-45 vote, with only three Democrats crossing the partisan divide in his favor.
He also spent five years in the White House under George W. Bush as associate counsel, a senior associate counsel and as staff secretary, which prompted Democrats to cast him as an inexperienced partisan ideologue during his contentious confirmation in 2006 to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal appeals judge last fall - excited social conservatives with her testimony when she was questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings previous year.
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Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said in a statement, "I join millions of Americans in congratulating Judge Kavanaugh for his nomination, a well-respected jurist widely regarded for his/her intellect, temperament, as well as for his/her dedication to the Constitution". Trump's other leading candidates for the post were fellow federal appellate judges Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett. Jon Tester of Montana - told reporters on Monday that he was not invited to the White House for Monday's ceremony, but added he's open to voting to one of the nominees.
Kavanaugh also offered a nod to the Supreme Court justice he's expected to replace, saying "the framers established that the Constitution is created to secure the blessings of liberty". His friends? What is within the scope of Mueller's investigation? I've always gone in there assuming that the judge - he's going to make up their mind based on the facts and what they hear, not based on a political litmus test requires. Another former Kennedy clerk, Kethledge is known for his strong defense of the Second Amendment.
At a White House ceremony announcing the pick, Trump described Kavanaugh as a man of "impeccable credentials" and a "true thought leader among his peers".
Another Democrat, Senator Richard Blumenthal, on Sunday assailed Trump's reliance on a list of potential nominees endorsed by the conservative Federalist Society.
Casey, who promotes himself as a moderate, relatively pro-life Democrat, could encounter reelection difficulties in the key swing state Trump carried in 2016 by unilaterally opposing the president's nominee.
Hatch, who is the longest-serving member on the Judiciary Committee and has seen fifteen Senate confirmation fights for Supreme Court justices, said Barrett is an "outstanding" law professor and a "tremendous woman".