Trump picks conservative Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court

Donald Trump has chosen federal appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee for US Supreme Court Justice.

Judge Kavanaugh, 53, has been nominated to replace long-serving conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement in June at the age of 81.

The US president said Judge Kavanaugh was known for having a “proven commitment to equal justice under the law”.

He added: “Throughout legal circles he’s considered a judge’s judge, a true thought leader among his peers”.

Judge Kavanaugh, who is married with two daughters, served as a senior White House official under the George W Bush presidency before he was nominated to the appeals court in 2003.

It took three years before the Senate voted to confirm him for that role, however.

Judge Kavanaugh with his family and the US president

He also worked for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated then president Bill Clinton but in 2009 he was reported as saying that presidents should be free from civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions and investigations while in office.

Judge Kavanaugh now faces what could be a difficult fight for confirmation by the US Senate, where Republicans hold only a slim majority.

Speaking after his nomination, Judge Kavanaugh said: “If confirmed I will keep an open mind in every case and will always strive to preserve the constitution of the United States and the American rule of law.”

If confirmed, he is expected to be a reliable conservative vote who could weaken abortion rights, bolster support for capital punishment and curtail the power of regulatory agencies.

The Senate’s top Democrat Chuck Schumer said he would fight the nomination “with everything I have”.

A confirmation for Judge Kavanaugh would mean “women’s reproductive rights would be in the hands of five men on the Supreme Court”, he added.

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