(Fox News) — President Trump on Monday night announced Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as his nominee to replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Kavanaugh, 53, a graduate of Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Kennedy in 1993, was elevated to the powerful federal appeals court in the District of Columbia by President George W. Bush, under whom he had served as a White House lawyer and staff secretary.
With approximately 300 opinions issued in 12 years as a judge and a raft of legal articles and speaking engagements, Kavanaugh was the most prolific of the nominees the president was said to be considering for the role.
“Throughout legal circles he’s considered a judge’s judge,” Trump said in the announcement, labeling Kavanaugh “one of the sharpest legal minds of our time.”
“Judge Kavanaugh has devoted his life to public service,” Trump continued. “There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving.”
Kavanaugh said Monday night that “Justice Kennedy devoted his career to securing liberty,” and he’s “deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court.”
Kennedy is expected to step down at the end of July.
Here are five things you should know about Kavanaugh as he heads into the confirmation process.
He worked on the investigation that led to President Clinton’s impeachment
Kavanaugh co-wrote independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s report in the 1990s. He laid out the legal framework supporting Clinton’s impeachment for his affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton could have been impeached for misleading the public and lying to staff members, Kavanaugh argued then, according to The New York Times. However, he later wrote that he thought presidents shouldn’t have to deal with criminal investigations or civil lawsuits while in office.
It’s unclear how Kavanaugh would rule on abortion
Kavanaugh has never directly ruled on abortion as a judge, so it’s unclear how he would decide the subject. He did, however, dissent recently on an appeals court decision that allowed a pregnant teenaged illegal immigrant who was in federal custody to have an abortion. Additionally, the nominee has not publicly said whether he’d favor overturning Roe v. Wade.
He has close ties to the Bush family
Kavanaugh was nominated to the federal appeals court by former President George W. Bush, who said he selected Kavanaugh “because of the force of his mind, the breadth of his experience and the strength of his character.”
Serving as a lawyer and staff secretary during the Bush administration, Kavanaugh traveled in top D.C. legal and political circles, earning the confidence of key players such as Karl Rove. He’s also married to Bush’s former personal secretary, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, and has two daughters.
Bush, in a statement Monday, said Trump’s choice to nominate Kavanaugh was “an outstanding decision.”
“Brett is a brilliant jurist who has faithfully applied the Constitution and laws throughout his 12 years on the D.C. Circuit,” Bush said. “He will make a superb Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Kavanaugh credits his mother for his career path
Kavanaugh, as an only child, points to his mother, Martha, for his career trajectory.
Martha Kavanaugh taught high school history before returning to school for her law degree. She later became a prosecutor and a judge in Maryland.
“She’s instilled in me a commitment to public service and a respect for the rule of law that I’ve tried to follow throughout my career,” Kavanaugh said at his 2006 Senate confirmation hearing for a spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
He ran in the Boston Marathon
An avid runner, Kavanaugh lists his two Boston Marathon finishes on his court website biography: 3:59:45 in 2010 and 4:08:36 in 2015. His team, D.C. Circuitry, regularly wins medals in an annual 5K charity race along the Anacostia River.
The judge currently coaches his daughters’ basketball teams. Kavanaugh also has tutored children at a D.C. elementary school, volunteered for Catholic charity groups and is a regular participant in services at his Catholic church.