In a day filled with suspense, intrigue, and sharp debate over the direction of the judiciary, the nation’s most unconventional president showed a decidedly conventional approach to the Supreme Court. Almost two weeks after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement and changed the midterm election cycle, President Trump picked one of Kennedy’s former clerks to replace him. Brett Kavanaugh, who has served for 12 years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, got the prime-time reveal at the White House.

Kavanaugh has been at the top of the conservative wish list for years. So the big surprise from Trump in this case is that there wasn’t much surprise in the choice at all. To some extent, that’s by design. Trump had to convince movement conservatives to turn out for him in 2016, but some argued that the famously mercurial Republican frontrunner couldn’t be trusted to take the issue seriously nor to stick to his pledge to nominate conservatives to the federal bench. His campaign worked with conservative groups, notably the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, to develop a list of more than two dozen potential Supreme Court candidates. The list was impressive enough to win over many conservatives, especially given the alternative of having Hillary Clinton make these same appointments.

Trump has treated that list as a playbook ever since. When he took office, he immediately chose Neil Gorsuch from the list to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump also selected some on the list for appellate court appointments, such as Don Willett from the Texas Supreme Court and Notre Dame law professor Amy Coney Barrett. It came as no shock that Trump went right back to the same resource to look for his second appointment to the Supreme Court.

What is a little surprising, however, is that Trump chose …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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