Trump taps Yale graduate Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to join the US Supreme Court, setting the stage for a dramatic confirmation battle over a stalwart conservative who could shape the direction of the court for decades to come.

If confirmed, Kavanaugh would replace a frequent swing vote on the bench, retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, who often sided with his liberal colleagues on issues such as abortion, affirmative action and LGBT rights.

Kavanaugh, 53, is a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and Yale Law School graduate who previously served in both Bush administrations. He also worked on independent counsel Ken Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton.

Connecticut lawmakers respond:

Governor Malloy said, “It is hard to overstate just how disastrous a Justice Kavanaugh would be.  It is not hyperbole to say that everything from marriage equality, to civil rights protections, to workers’ rights, to patient protections barring discrimination for preexisting conditions, to our already woefully inadequate gun safety laws would be in peril if President Trump’s nominee is confirmed.  Most alarming however is Judge Kavanaugh’s avowed hostility to Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights.  The purportedly pro-choice Republican senators should understand that a vote for Judge Kavanaugh is a vote to repeal Roe v. Wade.  It’s that simple.

“Make no mistake, with extreme, right-wing Republicans controlling all levers of power in Washington, we face an uphill battle, but I am committed to standing with my Democratic colleagues in the United States Senate to do everything in our power to stop this nomination.  Regardless of whether he is confirmed, we must uphold Connecticut’s laws to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal in our state.”

Lt. Governor Wyman said, “With the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, President Trump and Senate Republicans now jeopardize our nation’s progress for women’s rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, and health care.  Our next Supreme Court justice must be a supporter of defending and advancing rights, not for impeding them.  The future of our nation’s success is at stake and I urge the Senate to do everything in their power to stop this nomination from moving forward.”

Senator Chris Murphy:

Senator Richard Blumenthal:

“I will be a ‘no’ vote on this nominee. Judge Kavanaugh’s record and writings – which I have reviewed – signal an extreme hostility to the precious rights and liberties that make our nation great,” Blumenthal said.

“Judge Kavanaugh has passed the Trump litmus test – screened and vetted by extreme right-wing groups that have made this president their puppet. Approval of this nominee would mean the crucial swing vote to destroy hard-won rights and liberties enshrined in long established law. This nominee will likely take the nation back to a dark time when abortion was criminalized – when women died and were denied access to contraception and the morning after pill.”

“The Trump litmus test – stated repeatedly and clearly – demands a commitment to overturn Roe v. Wade and eviscerate key healthcare rights including protections for Americans who suffer from preexisting conditions. Also on the chopping block are LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and many civil rights. No other president has set such a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees. No other president has allowed himself to be a puppet of extreme right-wing outside organizations, or outsourced the selection to such fringe groups as the Federalist Society.”

“My colleagues should join me in demanding that if Judge Kavanaugh becomes Justice Kavanaugh he will recuse himself from cases that appear almost certain to come before the Court – cases that will test whether the president can defy a subpoena, pardon his cronies or himself, or even fire a special counsel. If our country is to remain a nation of laws – where no one is above the law – we cannot allow the president to appoint a Supreme Court swing vote to insulate himself from accountability for criminality and wrongdoing.”