Just the Facts

Five Facts on Trump's Upcoming Supreme Court Pick

By No Labels
July 6, 2018 | Blog

President Trump is expected to announce on Monday his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.  There has been intense speculation about who the potential replacement could be as the new justice will likely play a pivotal role in the direction of the court and the country for decades to come.  Here are five facts about the upcoming Supreme Court nomination.

Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court earlier this week, leaving a key vacancy in the court

Justice Kennedy was often a key swing vote on the court, making him the deciding voice in several important cases. Additionally, as Republicans and Democrats fight for control of the Senate, Justice Kennedy’s retirement will be a pivotal factor in the upcoming midterm elections. Republicans will likely try to get a conservative judge appointed quickly, whereas Democrats have indicated they could attempt to hold off the vote until after the midterms in hopes of getting a more moderate judge appointed. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Wednesday that Republicans “should follow the rule they set in 2016, not to consider a Supreme Court Justice in an election year.”

President Trump has announced that he plans to name his nominee on Monday, July 9

President Trump’s timeline lines up well with that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) who says his intention is to have the new justice confirmed in time for the Supreme Court’s fall term—which starts the first week of October. Thus, it is likely that the nomination process will begin during the last week of August.  If all goes according to plan for Senate Republicans, the nominee would receive a vote before the full Senate in early September.

According to some published reports Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the front-runner for Justice Kennedy’s vacant seat

Judge Kavanaugh currently serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Before holding this position, he clerked for Justice Kennedy before serving as assistant to the president and staff secretary for President George W. Bush. Throughout his career, he has been involved in many high-profile legal battles, including working as a top deputy for independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the investigation of President Bill Clinton.  A graduate of Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh has the academic pedigree that President Trump is reportedly seeking.  In addition, he has a consistent track record as a conservative.  In 2008 Judge Kavanaugh wrote a famed dissent that argued the Second Amendment does support the right to own a semiautomatic weapon.

Amy Coney Barrett is one of President Trump’s most controversial options for Supreme Court Justice

Judge Barrett currently serves on the Seventh Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.  As a graduate of Rhodes College and Notre Dame Law School, Judge Barrett would be the only sitting Supreme Court Judge without Ivy League credentials on her resume. Judge Barrett, however, is an appealing choice for social conservatives who view her opposition to abortion and the Affordable Care Act as pivotal in the outcomes of many upcoming Supreme Court cases.

Judge Raymond Kethledge has recently emerged as one of the favorites for the nomination

Judge Kethledge currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.  Like Judge Kavanaugh, he was a clerk for Justice Kennedy early in his career.  Judge Kethledge has been touted as a consensus choice for conservatives who has conducted much of his career outside Washington, D.C.  Additionally, many conservatives are particularly excited about Kethledge because of his similarities to Justice Neil Gorsuch and former Justice Antonin Scalia who are known for their adherence to originalism—a judicial philosophy that interprets the Constitution as it was originally written, not as a living document.

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