President Trump announces Supreme Court pick

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MARTIN: Is there any way to discern how much President Trump is weighing the idea of confirmability in his process? Trump touted Kavanaugh as "a brilliant jurist" with "impeccable credentials" before inviting Kavanaugh to the podium, where the judge said he was "deeply honored" to be Trump's choice.

With reality television-style suspense, he had kept everyone guessing up until the last moment.

President Donald Trump will announce his Supreme Court nominee tonight at 9 p.m. EDT. In all, there are more than 150 vacancies on the courts.

Kavanaugh told the president as he took the microphone to accept his nomination that he was "grateful to you" and "humbled by your confidence in me".

Scott Jennings, a former George W. Bush administration official and longtime McConnell strategist, said the Senate leader saw in the judicial openings the opportunity to "restore some balance". He had previously worked with independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the investigation of President Bill Clinton and was involved in the Florida presidential vote recount in 2000.

A Yale graduate and devout Catholic who went to a Jesuit high school, he once clerked for Justice Kennedy, the man he would replace.

"I will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States supreme court", Trump said.

The White House reassigned key communications staff last week to focus exclusively on the looming Supreme Court fight. But it's likely that supporters of abortion rights are still wondering about this issue. "Laws can be changed, regulations can be wiped away, but these federal judicial appointments are lifetime".

If as expected Trump nominates someone firmly to the right, conservatives could dominate the court for years.

Kethledge, like Kavanaugh, is a former Kennedy clerk. But Judge Kavanaugh may not be so accommodating.

President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump, background right, board Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport, in Morristown, N.J., Sunday, July 8, 2018, en route to Washington from Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

The front-runner was a front-runner for a reason.

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Franklin said it's not just the Supreme Court; he's a fan of Trump's tariffs and his negotiations with North Korea.

The source described Kavanaugh now as "a little risky" because of that, "and - perhaps, in the end - too establishment for DJT [Donald J. Trump]". The two groups were key in developing the list of candidates used by President Trump to make a decision.

It's a promise that has helped cement near-record levels of support for his presidency from Republican voters - and for good reason.

Democrats plan a confrontation centered on abortion and healthcare, hoping to either scuttle the nomination process completely or delay it until after November in the hope of winning extra seats in the Senate to force Trump to compromise.

A nominee needs a simple majority of 51 votes to be confirmed.

Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said he was bracing for a tough confirmation battle as Democrats focus on abortion. Cornyn told reporters that he will join about 30 Senate Republicans at the White House prime-time announcement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Kavanaugh "a superb choice" and said senators would start meeting with him this week. He specifically promised when he was running for president that if he got to pick two or three justices, Roe v. Wade would be overturned. The White House prepared briefing materials on all four.

All eyes on which senators?

None is older than 53, meaning they could sit on the court for decades, allowing Trump to make a lasting imprint on the nation's laws.

All three face gruelling re-election campaigns this year in their conservative states.

That could imperil support from Republican moderates in the Senate, especially Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Maine's Susan Collins.

Barrett - a longtime Notre Dame Law School professor who became a federal appeals judge last fall - excited social conservatives with her testimony when questioned about her Roman Catholic faith in her nomination hearings a year ago.

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