President Trump’s Pick For The High Court Wins High Praise

- July 10, 2018


Meet The Nominee Who Is Being Called "Immensely Qualified," "Enormously Skilled," And "Very Confirmable"


  • Yesterday, President Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals as his nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
  • A Yale-educated former Supreme Court clerk, Kavanaugh is being described as "immensely qualified," "enormously skilled," "the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in generations," and "hard to name anyone with judicial credentials as strong as [his]."
  • Pundits are calling Kavanaugh "very confirmable," "a lot harder to oppose," and according to one influential legal commentator, "there are no objective or qualification-based reasons to oppose him."
  • Kavanaugh's former colleagues and bosses, which include former President George W. Bush, are consistently describing him in glowing terms and have praised his intellect and work ethic.
  • Kavanaugh's nomination has been met with high praise from all corners, including law professors, legal scholars, lawmakers, and conservatives.


Last Night, President Trump Picked Judge Brett Kavanaugh Of The D.C. Circuit Court Of Appeals As His Choice To Replace Retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Yesterday, President Donald Trump Nominated D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh To Replace Retiring Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. "President Trump announced Monday evening that he is nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court seat being vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy." ("Brett Kavanugh Is Trump's Supreme Court Nominee," CBS News , 7/9/18)

USA Today : "On Paper, Brett Michael Kavanaugh May Be The Most Qualified Supreme Court Nominee In Generations." "On paper, Brett Michael Kavanaugh may be the most qualified Supreme Court nominee in generations." (Richard Wolf, "Brett Kavanaugh: Supreme Court Nominee Straight Out Of Central Casting," USA Today , 7/9/18)

  • USA Today : Kavanaugh's Resume "Combined With His Yale Pedigree" Is One "The Court's Current Justices Can't Match." " But Kavanaugh's 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, combined with his Yale pedigree, Supreme Court clerkship under retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy and top posts under President George W. Bush, give him a résumé the court's current justices can't match." (Richard Wolf, "Brett Kavanaugh: Supreme Court Nominee Straight Out Of Central Casting," USA Today , 7/9/18)

Kavanaugh Has Been Praised By Those With Whom He Worked With During His Long And Distinguished Career As A Judge And White House Staffer

Former President George W. Bush Praised Kavanaugh As A "Brilliant Jurist Who Has Faithfully Applied The Constitution And Laws Throughout His 12 Years On The D.C. Circuit" And "A Man Of The Highest Integrity." "President Trump has made an outstanding decision in nominating Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Brett is a brilliant jurist who has faithfully applied the Constitution and laws throughout his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit. He is a fine husband, father, and friend - and a man of the highest integrity. He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States." (Press Release, "Statement By President George W. Bush On Judge Brett Kavanaugh," George W. Bush Presidential Center , 7/9/18)

  • Kavanaugh Served As An Assistant To The President And Staff Secretary In The Bush White House From 2003 To 2006. " From July 2003 until May 2006, he was Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary to the President." ("Brett M. Kavanaugh," United States Court Of Appeals, District Of Columbia , Accessed 7/9/18)

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer Called Kavanaugh "Intellectually Driven" And "One Of The Wisest And Most Thoughtful People" He Had Ever Met . "I worked with Brett in the Bush White House. He is calm, cool and unflappable. He is also intellectually driven - one of the wisest and most thoughtful people I've ever met. He also happens to be a really nice guy." (Ari Fleischer, Twitter Feed , 7/9/18)

Rachael Brand, A Former Top DOJ Officer, Said "You Cannot Imagine A Better Supreme Court Nominee Than Brett Kavanaugh" Adding " So I've Seen First-Hand His Work Ethic, His Integrity, His Dedication To Public Service, His Brain. He's A Great Person, A Great Lawyer, Great Judge." CNN's DON LEMON: "I want to bring in now Rachel Brand. Rachel Brand is a former third ranking official at the Justice Department, and she joins us now on the phone. Rachel, I appreciate you joining us, thank you so much. It's a very busy night. What's your reaction to the selection?" RACHEL BRAND: "I'm delighted. You cannot imagine a better Supreme Court nominee than Brett Kavanaugh. Not only among the candidates that the president had, but really it's hard to even theoretically imagine a better nominee than Brett, so I'm just delight that the president picked him." LEMON: "How well do you know him?" BRAND: "Pretty well. We worked together in the White House Counsel's Office at the beginning of the Bush administration. When he talked tonight about running out of the gate at the White House on 9/11, I was doing the same thing. We worked together during that time. So I've seen first-hand his work ethic, his integrity, his dedication to public service, his brain. He's a great person, a great lawyer, great judge." (CNN's "CNN Tonight," 7/9/18)

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Luke McCloud, A Former Law Clerk To Kavanaugh, Called Him "An Excellent Person" And "Extremely Well-Qualified" And Noted " Across Those Decisions, He's Earned The Respect Of A Wide Variety Of Folks In The Legal Industry, Judges Across The Political Spectrum." CNN's CHRIS CUOMO: "All right, big news for this country, maybe for decades to come. We now know who the president wants as the next Supreme Court Justice to fill the seat vacated by Anthony Kennedy, and it will be a man named Brett Kavanaugh. He spent many years, a decade plus, on the D.C. circuit court. Three hundred cases he's written, so there's a lot to go through and he has extensive political history. So let's get personal perspective, we got Luke McCloud with us right now. He's a former clerk for the newly announced Supreme Court nominee. Good to have you, sir. What can you tell us about your old boss?" LUKE MCCLOUD: "Well, thanks for having me, Chris. I can tell you I think that the president has made an excellent choice with Judge Kavanaugh. He's extremely well-qualified. Has a record, as you said, of over three hundred decisions in some of the most complicated areas of the law that federal courts face. And across those decisions, he's earned the respect of a wide variety of folks in the legal industry, judges across the political spectrum. I think another thing that folks should know about Judge Kavanaugh is he is just a great guy. Maybe even better -- he's a great judge, but he's an excellent person. He very involved in his community, whether it's serving meals with Catholic charities or coaching his daughter's little league teams or just being a mentor to young lawyers like myself." (CNN's, "Cuomo Prime Time," 7/9/18)

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Kavanaugh's Nomination Has Been Well-Received On Capitol Hill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Stated That Kavanaugh Had "Sterling Academic Credentials" And That His Judicial Record "Demonstrate[d] A Firm Understanding Of The Role Of A Judge In Our Republic." "'Judge Kavanaugh has sterling academic credentials. He is widely admired for his intellect, experience, and exemplary judicial temperament. ... And his judicial record demonstrates a firm understanding of the role of a judge in our Republic: Setting aside personal views and political preferences in order to interpret our laws as they are written.' - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky." ("Quotes On Brett Kavanaugh's Nomination To The Supreme Court," The Associated Press , 7/9/18)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) Called Kavanuagh An "Excellent Choice" And Added That Kavanaugh's "Long Career Exemplifies Public Service And, In Particular, Dedication To Religious Liberty." "Those who sit on the Supreme Court play a vital role in our democracy: They interpret the law and act as the final arbiter of the U.S. Constitution - even against the other branches of government. Adherence to the text of laws and the words of the Constitution serves as the check on this extraordinary power. President Trump's nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh shows his commitment to selecting judges who are themselves committed to this restraint. Judge Kavanaugh will bring extensive experience to the Supreme Court; his long career exemplifies public service and, in particular, dedication to religious liberty. He has shown that Constitutional principles are the ultimate guide for his opinions. I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh's swift confirmation in the senate. This an excellent choice." (Speaker Paul Ryan, Twitter Feed , 7/9/18)

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) Said Kavanaugh Has "Impressive Credentials" And That She Looked Forward To Meeting With Him. ""Judge Kavanaugh has impressive credentials and extensive experience, having served more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals." (Press Release, "Senator Collins' Statement on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Kavanaugh," Sen. Susan Collins , 7/9/18)

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Said President Trump Chose "A Nominee With Impeccable Credentials And A Strong Record Of Upholding The Constitution." "In selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy left by Justice Kennedy, President Trump has chosen a nominee with impeccable credentials and a strong record of upholding the Constitution." (Press Release, "McCain On Nomination Of Judge Brett Kavanaugh To U.S. Supreme Court," Sen. John McCain , 7/9/18)

Kavanaugh's Nomination Has Been Praised By Conservatives

Former Governor Mitt Romney Claimed Kavanaugh "Has The Right Stuff" Because He Was "Esteemed By His Colleagues, Faithful To The Constitution, A Record Of Thoughtful Decisions And Already Confirmed For The DC Circuit." "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." (Mitt Romney, Twitter Feed , 7/9/18)

The National Review 's David French: Kavanaugh Is "Solid On Free Speech And Religious Liberty." "He's been solid on free speech and religious liberty. He's a respected intellect, and so he won't be just a vote - He may well be an influential justice." (David French, Twitter Feed , 7/9/18)

The Weekly Standard's Editor Stephen Hayes: " Brett Kavanaugh Is An Outstanding Choice." "Brett Kavanaugh is an outstanding choice. #ScotusPick" (Stephen Hayes, Twitter , 7/9/18)

Heritage Action: Kavanaugh Will "Faithfully Interpret The Law, Honor The Separation Of Powers, And Uphold And Protect Individual Rights Spelled Out In The Constitution." "Brett Kavanaugh is a judge who will, based on his record, not legislate from the bench, but instead faithfully interpret the law, honor the separation of powers, and uphold and protect individual rights spelled out in the Constitution." @TimChapman on #SCOTUS nominee." (Heritage Action, Twitter Feed , 7/9/18)

David Rivkin: During His 12 Years On The U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals For The District Of Columbia, Kavanaugh "Has Developed An Impressive Record As A Legal Thinker And A Champion Of The Constitution's Structural Safeguards Against Overweening Government." "Over Judge Kavanaugh's 12 years on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, he has developed an impressive record as a legal thinker and a champion of the Constitution's structural safeguards against overweening government." (David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman, Op-Ed, "A Champion Of Constitutional Safeguards," The Wall Street Journal , 7/9/18)

Kavanaugh's Nomination Has Been Praised By Legal Scholars And Commentators Of All Stripes

Above The Law 's David Lat Called Kavanaugh " A Deeply Respected, Long-Serving Judge Of The D.C. Circuit" And Added "There Are No Objective Or Qualification-Based Reasons To Oppose Him." "The selection of Judge Kavanaugh - a deeply respected, long-serving judge of the D.C. Circuit, the second most important court in the country after the Supreme Court - makes perfect sense. Judge Kavanaugh has an impeccable résumé: Yale College, Yale Law School, a SCOTUS clerkship, government service (the Justice Department and White House), Biglaw practice (partnership at Kirkland & Ellis), and more than a dozen years of distinguished service on the D.C. Circuit. There are no objective or qualification-based reasons to oppose him. Judge Kavanaugh is not just brilliant but also extremely likable, and he will perform superbly at his hearings (even better than Justice Gorsuch, I predict)." (David Lat, "Meet President Trump's Supreme Court Nominee: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh!," Above The Law, 7/9/18)

Professor Akhil Amar Stated That Kavanaugh " Impeccable Credentials, Great Intellect, Unbiased Judgment, And Deep Reverence For The Laws And Constitution Of The United States. " "Last week the president promised to select 'someone with impeccable credentials, great intellect, unbiased judgment, and deep reverence for the laws and Constitution of the United States.' In picking Judge Kavanaugh, he has done just that." (Akhil Reed Amar, Op-Ed, "A Liberal's Case For Brett Kavanaugh," The New York Times , 7/9/18)

  • Amar Is A Sterling Professor Of Law From Yale Law School Who Teaches Constitutional Law And "Has Been Cited By Supreme Court Justices Across The Spectrum In More Than Three Dozen Cases." "Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law in both Yale College and Yale Law School. His work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than three dozen cases." ("Akhil Reed Amar," Yale Law School , Accessed 7/9/18)

Professor Jack Goldsmith Called Kavanaugh "Immensely Qualified For The Supreme Court." "Brett Kavanaugh is immensely qualified for the Supreme Court: an outstanding lawyer and judge; a great teacher and serious scholar of the law; and a generous, honorable, kind person." (Jack Goldsmith, Twitter Feed , 7/9/18)

  • Goldsmith Is The Henry L. Shattuck Professor At Harvard Law School And Has Served As Assistant Attorney General, Office Of Legal Counsel And As Special Counsel To The Department Of Defense. "Jack Goldsmith is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor at Harvard Law School, co-founder of Lawfare, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Before coming to Harvard, Professor Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003." ("Jack Goldsmith," Lawfare , Accessed 7/9/18)

Professor Jonathan Adler: " With This Nomination, President Trump Made Good On His Promise To Nominate Highly Qualified, Conservative Jurists." "Tonight President Trump announced his decision to nominate Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. With this nomination, President Trump made good on his promise to nominate highly qualified, conservative jurists." (Jonathan H. Adler, "Initial Thoughts On The Nomination Of Brett Kavanaugh To The Supreme Court," Reason , 7/9/18)

Professor Orin Kerr Called Kavanaugh " Well Known And Well Liked" And "A Thought Leader Whose Views Get Attention And Respect Among The Current Supreme Court Justices." "Conservatives should be very happy with President Trump's selection of Brett Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh would be on any Republican president's short list. He has been a prominent conservative judge on the D.C. Circuit, and he is well known and well liked among the conservative legal elite. He has also been a thought leader whose views get attention and respect among the current Supreme Court justices." ("Trump Picked Kavanaugh. How Will He Change the Supreme Court?," Politico , 7/9/18)

The Choice Of Kavanaugh Was Lauded By Pundits Both For His Legal Acumen And As A Nominee Who Democrats Will Be Hard-Pressed To Oppose

NPR's Nina Totenberg Called Kavanaugh "Enormously Skilled", " A Very Graceful, Gracious Nominee," And The Picture Of "Potentially A Very Influential Member Of The United States Supreme Court." NPR's NINA TOTENBERG: "I think that this is from the President's point of view and from the point of view of conservatives, this is a smart choice, you saw a very graceful, gracious nominee, not nearly as stiff as Neil Gorsuch was at his announcement hearing. Someone who is used to Washington, who has already been mauled by the Senate Judiciary Committee at least once, and someone who is likely to be able to handle it. On the other hand, if he's confirmed, one assumes that he will be an enormously influential member of the court and very quickly. If you have already written 300 opinions in the D.C. circuit which handles the big regulatory cases, which handles the big separation of powers cases. True, he hasn't actually ruled specifically on Roe v. Wade, but he has ruled on a whole bunch of other stuff, and they conceive he will be able to carry the water and in some ways he doesn't have to carry that heavy a pail of water if you got five very conservative members of the court which you now do." MSNBC's RACHEL MADDOW: "Nina in terms of his expected role, what have we learned about him over the course of his 12 years in terms of his -- not just his temperament and ideological place on the number line, but his skill as a jurist and the way he works with other judges?" TOTENBERG: "He is, as I said, enormously skilled, and very conservative jurist who as far as I can tell gets along with his colleagues very well, can slice the salami very well and is something of a team player and not, sort of, a rogue on your own I'll dissent from everything in whatever small ways I don't agree person. That is the picture of somebody who is potentially a very influential member of the United States Supreme Court." (MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," 7/9/18)

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MSNBC's Chris Hayes Called Brett Kavanaugh "Someone Who [Has] Punched All The Tickets," And "Cut Of That Same Cloth" As Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. MSNBC's CHRIS HAYES: "My reaction, twofold. One, I'm not surprised. It seemed like this was the most Gorsuch like pick of the bunch. Someone who had punched all the tickets. All the elite credentials and who has spent his life in conservative right wing legal circles in which people can be to get a suitor. There is an entire infrastructure built up on the right to create processes, associations, pipelines of cultivation, to make sure that they get conservative justices appointed by Republicans who end up ruling in ways that align with their policy preferences and their constitutional theories and they've gotten very good at it. Gorsuch has performed the first few years on the court and I think Kavanaugh is cut of that same cloth." (MSNBC's, "All In With Chris Hayes," 7/9/18)

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NBC's Chuck Todd Called Kavanaugh A "Very Confirmable Pick." MSNBC's CHUCK TODD "But let me tell you this overall Lester, I think this is a pick, that is a very confirmable pick. Brett Kavanaugh has already gotten the support once of the two moderate Republican Senators Murkowski and Collins, he'll likely get it again." (NBC News, "Special Report," 7/9/18)

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CNN's Dana Bash Said That With The Nomination Of Brett Kavanaugh To The Supreme Court, It Will Be "A Lot Harder" For Red State Democrats To Vote Against President Trump's Pick. CNN's DANA BASH: "Obviously, before we get to all of this, and we have to see the vote, and obviously, the confirmation hearings and the vote. One thing I wanted to throw in here is there has been a lot of discussion about the reality of the razor-thin majority that the Republicans have in the Senate. They basically have one vote, which means one to spare. They have to rely or they hope to rely on red-state Democrats to give them a little bit of comfort with their margin. I've been talking to sources tonight who say with this pick, it is going to be harder for red-state Democrats in really tough re-election battles to vote against him. Not impossible but a lot harder. And remember, the three Democrats we were talking about who voted for Gorsuch last year were Joe Donnelly, Joe Manchin, and Heidi Heitkamp, all three of whom are facing really tough reelection battles in November." (CNN's "Tonight With Don Lemon," 7/9/18)

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