WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his pick for the U.S. Supreme Court Monday, the president’s second nomination to the high court.
Kavanaugh currently serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He previously served as a counsel under Ken Starr during the investigation of President Bill Clinton and later worked in the administration of President George W. Bush. He began serving on the D.C. District Court in 2006.
Kavanaugh also served as a clerk for Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of July.
“This incredibly qualified nominee deserves a swift confirmation and robust bipartisan support,” Trump said at the White House. “The rule of law is our nation’s proud heritage. It is the cornerstone of our freedom. It is what guarantees equal justice, and the Senate now has the chance to protect this glorious heritage by sending Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.”
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. — who attended the announcement ceremony — approved of the president’s choice.
“Judge Kavanaugh has a particularly strong record of policing the separation of powers, seeking to ensure that lawmaking remains the prerogative of elected members of Congress,” she said. “I think President Trump made an excellent choice in nominating Judge Kavanaugh. I look forward to meeting with him and remaining engaged and supportive of him during the confirmation process.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he has an obligation as a senator to rule on nominations.
“As I have always said, I believe the Senate should hold committee hearings,” he said. “Senators should meet with him, we should debate his qualifications on the Senate floor and cast whatever vote we believe he deserves.”
Manchin, who declined an invitation to the White House, said he will evaluate Kavanaugh’s judicial opinions as well as views of former President Barack Obama’s health care law.
“The Supreme Court will ultimately decide if nearly 800,000 West Virginians with pre-existing conditions will lose their health care,” he said. “This decision will directly impact almost 40 percent of my state, so I’m very interested in his position on protecting West Virginians with pre-existing conditions.”
Manchin voted against the last year’s attempts to repeal and replace the federal health care law. Manchin met with Trump on June 28 to discuss multiple issues, including the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Manchin was one of three Democratic senators who voted in April 2017 to confirm Gorsuch; North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and Indiana’s Joe Donnelly are up for re-election this year, as is Manchin.
“Judge Kavanaugh has demonstrated a strong respect for the letter of the law and the ideals set forth in our Constitution,” he said. I urge the Senate to act quickly to confirm him and fill this vacancy in our nation’s highest court.
West Virginia Attorney General and Republican Senate candidate Patrick Morrisey applauded Trump for his choice.
“Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination serves as a reminder of why the American people elected President Trump in 2016,” he said. “If Sen. Joe Manchin had his way in 2016, Hillary Clinton would now be nominating her second radical anti-Second Amendment, pro-abortion nominee to the Court.”
Morrisey also went after Manchin for not attending the nomination announcement, saying the senior senator was “lining up” with liberals.
“The men and women of West Virginia urge Sen. Manchin to stand up for the Constitution, and our West Virginia conservative values, and support the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he said.
Republican National Committee spokesperson Brett Tubbs said Manchin should support Kavanaugh.
“Now that President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, there is no question that he is a highly qualified judge who will follow the Constitution, uphold the rule of law, and bring common sense to the bench,” he said.
The Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative political organization, announced Monday a $1.4 million advertising campaign in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia to urge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Representatives of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List will speak Tuesday outside of Manchin’s Charleston office in regards to voting for confirmation.
Fifty-one senators will have to vote for Kavanaugh’s nomination for him to be confirmed. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska face pressure from liberal groups to oppose the nomination due to concerns about the future of Roe v. Wade, which established a woman’s right to abortion.