Capito looking for Supreme Court nominee similar to Gorsuch

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The Kentucky Republican had already led the Senate in confirming more circuit court judges in the first year of Donald Trump's presidency than in that of any other president in history.

A Yale Law School graduate and a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court since 2006, Kavanaugh is set to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced last month he'd be stepping down after serving three decades on the court.

"The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh comes after a selection process marked by an historic degree of transparency, including the President's public disclosure of a list of 25 highly qualified potential nominees to the Supreme Court", the White House Press Office released in a statement.

Mr Trump added: "He is a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time". Kavanaugh and Gorsuch served as law clerks to Kennedy at the same time early in their legal careers.

Top contenders had included federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman.

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Kavanaugh served under President George W. Bush which is partly why some have labeled him as more of an establishment choice. On the bright side, Kavanaugh worked for Ken Starr during his probe of President Bill Clinton, and is credited by pundits with some of the most salacious questions to that POTUS. Drawing on his experience working on the Clinton investigation and then in the Bush White House, he wrote in a 2009 law review article that he favored exempting presidents from facing both civil suits and criminal investigations, including indictment, while in office.

"What the administration is seeking is to transform the face of the entire federal judiciary", said Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, a liberal group that tracks court issues. Kavanaugh has an extensive paper trail that could potentially enable Democrats to stretch the confirmation beyond the 2018 midterm election. Kennedy sometimes joined the liberal justices on key rulings on divisive social issues like abortion and gay rights, a practice his replacement may not duplicate.

President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh's nomination Monday evening. Senate Republicans hold only a 51-49 majority, leaving them hardly any margin if Democrats hold the line.

Senate Republicans are pleased that Kyl will be the one to help the nominee navigate the arduous confirmation process.

Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME, are pro-abortion and have said they would vote against a candidate who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who will lead the confirmation fight on Capitol Hill, spoke with Trump by phone on Friday, according to two Republican officials briefed on the exchange.

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Two female Republican senators - Maine Sen.

But her voting record shows that Collins has supported all of Trump's judicial nominees, including John Kenneth Bush, Trump's nominee for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals who once described slavery and abortion as the "two greatest tragedies in our country" and compared Roe v. Wade to the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision that ruled slaves could not be U.S. citizens.

Trump and McConnell have been in frequent contact since Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be stepping down from the court.

The new justice can be expected to cast crucial votes on other matters of national importance including gay rights, gun control, the death penalty and voting rights. More than 40 federal district and circuit court judges have been confirmed to lifetime appointments so far during Trump's term, and those judges will have enormous sway in shaping legal arguments nationwide.

Current justices range in age from Elena Kagan, 58, to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85.

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