President Donald Trump has chosen Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as his nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a choice that will likely affect the court for a generation or more to come.
The announcement was made Monday, July 9.
Kavanaugh, who clerked for Kennedy, is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
What to now about Kavanaugh:
- Kavanaugh was born in Washington, D.C., and reared in Bethesda, Maryland. His mother was a Maryland state circuit court judge. His father was also an attorney.
- He graduated from Georgetown Prep School and received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. He also earned his law degree at Yale.
- In addition to clerking for Kennedy, Kavanaugh clerked for Judge Walter Stapleton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and Judge Alex Kosinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
- Kavanaugh earned a one-year fellowship with Ken Starr when Starr was the solicitor general of the United States, before he clerked for Kennedy.
- Kavanaugh worked as an associate counsel for Starr in the Office of Independent Counsel after his time working for Kennedy. There, he helped draft the Starr report that recommended the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying about an affair with Monica Lewinski, a White House intern.
- Kavanaugh also investigated the suicide of Vincent Foster, an aide to Clinton. While some thought Foster could have been murdered, Kavanaugh concluded there was no question that Foster had killed himself.
He argued one case before the Supreme Court, asking the justices to rule that Foster’s attorney had to turn over notes from a conversation he had with Foster just prior to his suicide. The court ruled 6-3 against Kavanaugh’s request.
- After working for Starr, he worked for President George W. Bush in the Florida recount fight during the 2000 presidential election.
- He joined the staff at the White House following Bush’s victory, serving as staff secretary and assistant to Bush.
- He was nominated to the D.C. appeals court by Bush in 2003. It took three years for Kavanaugh to be confirmed.
- Kavanaugh was not on Trump’s initial list of potential nominees for any vacant seat on the Supreme Court but was added later.
- He says he considers Roe v. Wade binding under “stare decisis” which is Latin for “to stand by things decided.” Kavanaugh has said he would support the decision that allows a woman to legally have an abortion in every state in the country.
- In 2009, Kavanaugh wrote a piece for a law journal arguing that U.S. presidents should be exempt from “time-consuming and distracting” lawsuits or special investigations which “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.” Some have suggested that is why Kavanaugh is on Trump’s short list to sit as a Supreme Court justice.
- He is 53, and married Ashley Estes in 2004. The couple has two daughters.