McConnell says he expects the Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by fall

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Kavanaugh, 53, sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. It's the same court that produced three current high court justices. His record also consists of working on independent counsel Ken Starr's investigations into the Clinton administration as well as on President George W. Bush's White House counsel. What should not be considered are the personal relationships certain candidates have versus others who may be more qualified to serve.

"Republicans are holding four lottery tickets, and all of them are winners", Graham said.

This time, the Republicans have a simple majority in the Senate (51 votes needed), but in an election year anything can happen. Before making his announcement, Trump praised Justice Kennedy for a lifetime of "distinguished service" and said, "Other than matters of war and peace, this is the most important decision a president can make". "The one person who would give him shield from anything that might come at him". "Thirty years ago, President Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy to the supreme court". His mother, Martha, became a Maryland state judge a quarter-century ago.

That was the theory under which the liberal editorial page of the Los Angeles Times, for instance, endorsed John Roberts to be chief justice, despite concerns about some of his positions. Good appellate judges faithfully follow the Supreme Court; great ones influence and help steer it. "He has a track record that demonstrates his talents and his judicial philosophy". His opinions are so well-written and so brilliant.

Kennedy's exit has afforded Trump the opportunity to replace the frequent swing vote on the court with a reliable conservative judge and influence the judiciary for decades.

With about an hour to go until President Trump made his Supreme Court nomination, it was looking like Michigan's Raymond Kethledge was out.

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Kennedy announced his plans for retirement in June.

A group of Democratic senators from Republican-leaning states - lawmakers who could be pivotal in the confirmation fight - declined Trump's invitation to attend the White House announcement.

"Former Senator Jon Kyl has agreed to serve as the Sherpa for the President's nominee to the Supreme Court", White House Spokesman Raj Shah said.

Last year, President Trump chose a former law clerk of Anthony Kennedy, in Neil Gorsuch. Kennedy, a 1988 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, was the most unpredictable.

"For those who care about abortion rights, for those who want to see abortion rights, constitutional abortion rights preserved, I think there is some reason to be concerned about Judge Kavanaugh", he said.

In 2000, Kavanaugh unsuccessfully attempted to prevent 6-year-old refugee Elian Gonzalez from being returned to Cuba.