Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, is a longtime judge on the federal appeals court often referred to as the second-highest court in the land.
Kavanaugh has served on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2006, three years after George W. Bush nominated him to the post. At 53, Kavanaugh, if confirmed, could reasonably expect to serve on the Supreme Court well into the middle of the century — no doubt an attractive prospect to President Trump, who intentionally targeted young candidates for the posting, sources told ABC News.
A native of Washington, D.C., Kavanaugh attended Yale for both his undergraduate and law degrees, graduating law school cum laude in 1990. Kavanaugh then clerked for appellate judges Walter Stapleton and Alex Kozinski before clerking for Justice Kennedy – whose seat Kavanaugh would take if confirmed.
In the mid-1990s, Kavanaugh joined Kenneth Starr’s independent counsel team investigating President Bill Clinton and ultimately helped write the Starr Report to Congress. The report outlined in broad detail grounds on which to impeach President Clinton for his role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. A decade later, Kavanaugh penned a law review article expressing second thoughts about whether presidents should be subjected to the burdens of prosecution and investigation. Kavanaugh’s evolved view on the subject could have implications for President Trump.
After a stint in private practice, Kavanaugh then joined the George W. Bush White House as an associate counsel and then as an assistant to the president.
In 2006 – after a grueling three-year confirmation process – Kavanaugh was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
“From the notorious Starr report, to the Florida recount, to the president’s secrecy and privilege claims to post-9/11 legislative battles including the Victims Compensation Fund, to ideological judicial nomination fights, if there has been a partisan political fight that needed a very bright legal foot soldier in the last decade, Brett Kavanaugh was probably there,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said during Kavanaugh’s 2006 confirmation hearing.
But conservatives perceive Kavanaugh’s time as a Republican operative favorably, and his connections from years in the executive branch could serve to soothe Republicans ahead of what could very well be a confirmation fight.
“I have had the privilege of working with many fine people in my two decades of White House service over three Administrations,” Anita McBride, former assistant to President George W. Bush, told ABC News in a statement. “Brett Kavanaugh is hands down among the finest.”