The last-minute jockeying by lawmakers and other political stakeholders played right into the reality show-like gamesmanship surrounding President Trump's choice for Supreme Court nominee - right down to a blast from the past re-emerging on Trump's list of finalists. White House aides have strict instructions to keep information under wraps so Trump himself can make the big reveal.
Kethledge serves as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio. Other Democrats who represent heavily Republican states will also be under pressure to support the nominee.
Since Kennedy declared his retirement almost two weeks ago, conservative groups have been gearing up for a battle of a lifetime as Democrats vow to do everything possible to block President Trump's choice. Liberals, meanwhile, have burned him in effigy as the unwitting mouthpiece for corporate oligarchs thanks to his majority opinion in the Citizens United case.
Liberal horror and conservative delight about the implications of the pick have crystalized into a debate about the newly constituted court's potential to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that upheld a legal right to an abortion. Kavanaugh later worked with independent counsel Kenneth Starr during the investigation of President Bill Clinton.
He was also part of the legal team challenging Florida's recount in the 2000 election.
Judge Kavanaugh recently voiced disagreement with a court decision allowing an undocumented teenage immigrant to have an abortion.
The nominee made no mention of his leanings in brief remarks at the White House, where he was joined by his wife and their two daughters.
"My judicial philosophy is straightforward", he said. "I'll interpret the law as written". "And I believe this person will do a great job". If confirmed by the Senate. "I will tell each senator that I revere the Constitution".
"Esteemed by his colleagues, faithful to the Constitution, a record of thoughtful decisions, and already confirmed for the DC Circuit; Brett Kavanaugh has the right stuff", Romney wrote. Jon Kyl would guide the nominee through the confirmation process.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promised to opposed Judge Kavanaugh's nomination with everything he has.
The president has been lobbied in the final hours of his selection process by both supporters and opponents of the four candidates, all of whom are federal appeals court judges with conservative records.
With a slim one vote majority in the Senate, any GOP defections could prove problematic in winning confirmation for Trump's eventual choice, that is if Democrats hold together in opposition. "We must do everything we can to stop this nomination".
Trump's selection will set up a confirmation showdown in the U.S. Senate, where his fellow Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority, though with ailing Senator John McCain battling cancer in his home state of Arizona they now can muster only 50 votes. In addition to Kavanaugh, in recent days he expressed renewed interest in Hardiman, the runner-up when Trump nominated Gorsuch, said two people with knowledge of his thinking. "I know him to be a smart and fair judge, one of the most admired appellate judges in the country".
They are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to wait until after the November election to schedule a hearing and vote. At Take Care, David Gans writes that the "legacy of this Amendment, its goal, and its continuing, urgent relevance show exactly how high the stakes for this nominee and the future of the Supreme Court".
Legal experts say his work on the D.C. Circuit bolsters his conservative credentials, but it also gives Democrats plenty of fodder on controversial topics in the looming confirmation fight such as a woman's access to abortion, gun rights, consumer protections and environmental regulations.