President Trump picks Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Nominee

IMAGE: CNS photo/Jim Bourg, Reuters

By Carol Zimmermann

WASHINGTON (CNS) — President Donald Trump announced July 9 that
his nominee for the Supreme Court is Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals
court judge in Washington and a Catholic who once clerked for retiring Justice
Anthony Kennedy.

matters is not a judge’s personal views but whether they can set aside those
views to do what the law and the Constitution require,” Trump said in his announcement
at the White House, adding: “I am pleased to say I have found, without
doubt, such a person.”

He said
the nominee has “impeccable credentials” and is “considered a judge’s

am grateful to you and I am humbled by your confidence in me,” said Kavanaugh,
who was standing near his wife and two daughters.

spoke about his Catholic faith saying he tries to live by the motto enstilled
in him by his Jesuit high school: “be men for others.” Kavanaugh,
like Justice Gorsuch, attended Georgetown Prep, a Jesuit boys school in
Maryand. He also pointed out that his former pastor, Msgr. John Enzler, was in
the audience and that he used to be an altar boy for him and now the two serve
the homeless together. The priest is the president and CEO of Catholic
Charities of Washington. Kavanaugh also gave a shout-out to the girls
basketball team at his parish which he coaches and has been nicknamed “Coach
K,” the nickname of Duke basketball’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

said if he is chosen to be on the Supreme Court he would “keep an open
mind in every case” and “always strive to preserve the Constitution
of the United States and the American rule of law.”

after Justice Anthony Kennedy’s announced his retirement June 27, Trump said he
would move quickly to nominate a replacement, saying he would review a list of
candidates from the list he had to fill the seat now held by Justice Neil
Gorsuch after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

is one of five Catholic justices on the Supreme Court along with Chief Justice
John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor.

53, is a Yale Law School graduate who currently serves on the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where he has authored more than
280 opinions. He was part of the Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s Whitewater
investigation, which ultimately led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment by
the House and acquittal by the Senate.

biography on the court website notes that he is a regular lector at his church,
the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington. He also volunteers for
the St. Maria’s Meals program at Catholic Charities, has coached CYO, tutors at
the Washington Jesuit Academy and belongs to the John Carroll Society, a group
of Catholic lawyers and professionals.

recently ruled to stop a teenager in an immigrant detention center from
obtaining an abortion, claiming the decision would give immigrant minors a
right to “immediate abortion on demand,” but he urged the government
to transfer her to private custody so she could do “as she wished.”
He also saw both sides opposed the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate,
ruling against it but saying the government has an interest in providing
contraceptive coverage and should “achieve it in other ways.”

Two of
the other judges reported to be top picks as nominees are also Catholic: Judges
Amy Coney Barrett and Thomas Hardiman. Judge Amul Thapar, on a broader top
list, is also Catholic.

nominee must be confirmed by the Senate in order to have a seat on the Supreme
Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings questioning the
nominee and if the committee approves, a vote for or against the nominee goes
to the full Senate floor and must be approved with a simple majority or 51

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Follow Zimmermann on Twitter: @carolmaczim.

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