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President Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh as SCOTUS pick

President Donald Trump greets Judge Brett Kavanaugh his Supreme Court nominee, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, July 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump is proposing Brett Kavanaugh to take over for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Kavanaugh was picked among a short list of finalists that also included: Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett, and Thomas Hardiman. The 53-year-old judge has served on the Washington DC court of appeals since 2006. He worked for President George W. Bush’s administration, and also served on Kenneth Starr’s independent council that investigated President Bill Clinton.

“If confirmed by the Senate I will keep an open mind in every case,” Kavanaugh said Monday evening. “And I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United Sates and the American rule of law.”

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Kavanaugh said that he comes from a “vibrant” Catholic community in the Washington DC area, who do not agree on everything, but are united to serve. He said that he is proud that he has mostly employed women in his career.

“Thirty years ago President Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court,” Kavanaugh said. “The framers established that the Constitution is designed to secure the blessings of liberty. Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty. I am deeply honored to fill his seat on the Supreme Court.”

The nomination process through Congress will now get underway. Former Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna says that process will be quite a show.

“It’s going to be a lively several months,” McKenna told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don. “Buy a big bucket of popcorn, and we’ll see what happens.”

Kavanaugh nominated

The appointment is an opportunity for President Trump to fundamentally transform the ideological leaning of the court in the wake of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, a common swing vote.

McKenna, it is no surprise that Kavanaugh stood out from the pack. He will be a political advantage to Trump, especially going into fall elections.

“It’s not a surprise,” McKenna told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don. “…. He certainly was favored by groups influential in this process, like the Federalist Society. Judge Kavanaugh will be somewhat more controversial than Judge Gorsuch was … In part because there was sort of a sense that you can replace (Judge) Scalia with another Conservative, but replacing Justice Kennedy with somebody more Conservative will be more controversial.”

“Judge Kavanaugh, when he was a young lawyer, worked for Kenneth Starr during the Clinton impeachment process as one of the prosecutors, and that will be held against him by some of the Democrats,” he said. “It’s going to be very lively, fast paced and we’ll see if President Trump can hold together the Republican votes he needs and pull over some Democrats.”

CBS legal analyst Thane Rosenbaum joined Seattle’s Morning News Monday morning and said while politically contentious, the process will likely be quick as Republicans hold a slim majority in the Senate.

“It’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen faster than the Democrats would have liked,” Rosenbaum said. “I have no doubt the nominee will be appointed to the Supreme Court before the mid-term election.”

Roe v Wade, religious freedom, and other issues

Central in Democrat concerns over the nomination is how it will impact Roe v Wade, which Rosenbaum doesn’t believe will be overturned.

“I don’t know whether it will be overturned. I know people use that word. But I think they should be concerned about it being chipped away,” he said. “What you’re more likely to see in this next round is more cases decided on religious freedom and religious liberty, like the Masterpiece Cake case we just saw.”

“It’s where, yes, marriage equality is a constitutional right, but so too is religious freedom. And you can’t force a person who is opposed to marriage equality to bake a cake, to demonstrate that level of artistry on something he or she doesn’t believe in.”

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McKenna echoed Rosenbaum’s sentiment.

“I doubt that Judge Kavenaugh would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade,” McKenna said. “In fact, even he were inclined, they wouldn’t have enough votes on the court to achieve that in any case.”

Religious liberty cases will be controversial issues that Kavanaigh will likely influence.

McKenna also said that Kavanaugh will be inclined to vote in favor of religious freedom cases, such as the case of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash.

“I don’t think he is going to go back and vote to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriages a constitutional right,” he said.

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