July 9, 2018
Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s assumption of senior status.
The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh comes after a selection process marked by an historic degree of transparency, including the President’s public disclosure of a list of 25 highly qualified potential nominees to the Supreme Court.
Judge Kavanaugh has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006, authoring more than 300 opinions, including 11 that have been affirmed by the Supreme Court. Before becoming a judge, he served in the George W. Bush administration, first as an Associate Counsel and then Senior Associate Counsel, and subsequently as Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary. A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Kennedy, and for judges on the Third and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals. Judge Kavanaugh also served as a Counsel for the Office of Independent Counsel under Ken Starr and as a Partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP.
Judge Kavanaugh has earned a reputation as a brilliant jurist with impeccable legal credentials, and he is universally respected for his intellect, as well as his ability to persuade and build consensus. Judge Kavanaugh lives in Maryland with his wife Ashley and their two daughters.
Full text of remarks
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: My fellow Americans, tonight I speak to you from the East Room of the White House regarding one of the most profound responsibilities of the President of the United States, and that is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice.
I’ve often heard that, other than matters of war and peace, this is the most important decision a President will make. The Supreme Court is entrusted with the safeguarding of the crown jewel of our Republic, the Constitution of the United States.
Twelve days ago, Justice Anthony Kennedy informed me of his decision to take senior status on the Supreme Court, opening a new vacancy. For more than four decades, Justice Kennedy served our nation with incredible passion and devotion. I’d like to thank Justice Kennedy for a lifetime of distinguished service. (Applause.)
In a few moments, I will announce my selection for Justice Kennedy’s replacement. This is the second time I have been faced with this task. Last year, I nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia. (Applause.) I chose Justice Gorsuch because I knew that he, just like Justice Scalia, would be a faithful servant of our Constitution.
We are honored to be joined tonight by Justice Scalia’s beloved wife, Maureen. Maureen. (Applause.) Thank you, Maureen.
Both Justice Kennedy and Justice Scalia were appointed by a President who understood that the best defense of our liberty and a judicial branch immune from political prejudice where judges that apply the Constitution as written. That President happened to be Ronald Reagan.
For this evening’s announcement, we are joined by Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General, Edwin Meese. Ed. (Applause.) And, Ed, I speak for everyone: Thank you for everything you’ve done to protect our nation’s great legal heritage.
In keeping with President Reagan’s legacy, I do not ask about a nominee’s personal opinions. What matters is not a judge’s political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require. I am pleased to say that I have found, without doubt, such a person.
Tonight, it is my honor and privilege to announce that I will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. (Applause.)
I know the people in this room very well. They do not stand and give applause like that very often, so they have some respect. (Laughter.)
And Brett’s wife, Ashley, and their two daughters, Margaret and Liza, have joined us on the podium. And thank you and congratulations to you as a family. Thank you. (Applause.)
Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.
A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Judge Kavanaugh currently teaches at Harvard, Yale, and Georgetown.
Throughout legal circles, he is considered a judge’s judge — a true thought leader among his peers.
He is a brilliant jurist, with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time. And just like Justice Gorsuch, he excelled as a clerk for Justice Kennedy. That’s great. Thank you. (Applause.)
Judge Kavanaugh has devoted his life to public service. For the last 12 years, he has served as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — with great distinction — authoring over 300 opinions, which have been widely admired for their skill, insight, and rigorous adherence to the law.
Among those opinions are more than a dozen that the Supreme Court has adopted as the law of the land.
Beyond his great renown as a judge, he is active in his community. He coaches CYO Basketball, serves meals to needy families, and — having learned from his mom who was a schoolteacher in D.C. — tutors children at local elementary schools.
There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving.
I want to thank the senators on both sides of the aisle, Republican and Democrat, for their consultation and advice during the selection process. This incredibly qualified nominee deserves a swift confirmation and robust bipartisan support.
The Rule of Law is our nation’s proud heritage. It is the cornerstone of our freedom. It is what guarantees equal justice. And the Senate now has the chance to protect this glorious heritage by sending Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.