Tonight President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy that will be created on the court when Kennedy retires on July 31. If, as is widely expected (and Republicans hope), Kavanaugh proves to be more conservative than his former boss, the Supreme Court could shift further to the right on a variety of high-profile issues, ranging from reproductive rights to affirmative action.
The 53-year-old Kavanaugh is the consummate Washington insider, well-liked in the city’s legal community. Kavanaugh has lived in the D.C. area for essentially his entire life. He was born in Washington and raised in Maryland and, like Justice Neil Gorsuch (who graduated two years after him), attended the Georgetown Preparatory School, a prestigious Catholic boys’ school in Rockville. He left the D.C. area to attend Yale College and Yale Law School, graduating from the latter in 1990, followed by clerkships on federal courts of appeals in Delaware and California. He returned for a fellowship in the office of then-U.S. solicitor general Kenneth Starr, followed by the Kennedy clerkship.
In 2006, President George W. Bush nominated Kavanaugh (for the second time – his first nomination stalled) for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has sat on the D.C. Circuit – the springboard to the Supreme Court for three of the current justices – for 12 years.
The confirmation hearings for Justice Neil Gorsuch began roughly a month and a half after he was nominated. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently suggested that the confirmation hearing for a nominee with a lengthy track record – which Kavanaugh certainly has – could take longer, so that Kavanaugh might not be confirmed before the Supreme Court reconvenes in October.