“President Trump is expected to move quickly to nominate a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s soon-to-be-vacant Supreme Court seat, and two leading candidates are veteran Washington, D.C., appellate Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a former Notre Dame law professor and recent Trump appointee to the 7th Circuit in Chicago,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“They emerged from a list of more than two dozen potential nominees put together by the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.
“The list was Trump’s idea and it has proven effective, said Leonard Leo, a Federalist Society official who is advising the White House. It told Republican voters that he was serious about appointing only reliable conservatives to the high court, he said.
“Kavanaugh, 53, grew up in Washington and is the favorite of many conservative lawyers here. He went to Yale Law School and clerked at the Supreme Court for Kennedy alongside Neil M. Gorsuch, who joined the court last year as Trump’s first appointment. Kavanaugh was a top deputy to independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the long investigation of President Clinton, and he drafted the Starr Report that led to Clinton’s impeachment. He also joined the legal team that represented George W. Bush in the fight over the recount in the 2000 presidential election.
“Kavanaugh has written hundreds of opinions, and he is known for always staking out a conservative position. ‘He is much more conservative in his approach to law than Justice Kennedy,’ said Justin Walker, a University of Louisville law professor who clerked for Kavanaugh at the appeals court and Kennedy at the Supreme Court. ‘There is no guesswork with Judge Kavanaugh. He is extremely predictable.’
“Walker cited, as an example, Kavanaugh’s support for the right to own a semiautomatic rifle under the 2nd Amendment. In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down a District of Columbia ordinance that prohibited residents from having a handgun at home. The same plaintiff later claimed the right to possess a semiautomatic weapon, but lost by a 2-1 vote in the D.C. Circuit, Walker noted. Kavanaugh wrote a lengthy dissent arguing that the 2nd Amendment included the right to have such a weapon.
“In contrast to Kavanaugh, Barrett, 46, is a newcomer with a sparse record as a judge. She is a product of the University of Notre Dame and South Bend, Ind. She went law school at Notre Dame and spent a few years in Washington as a law clerk for D.C. Circuit Judge Laurence Silberman and Justice Antonin Scalia. She returned in 2002 to teach law at Notre Dame.
“She has written and spoken frequently about the importance of her Catholic faith and in her belief that life begins at conception. In a 2003 scholarly article, she suggested Roe vs. Wade was an ‘erroneous decision.’”
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