President Donald Trump has chosen conservative federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee for U.S. Supreme Court Justice, NBC News reported on Monday, just before the official White House announcement.
Kavanaugh would replaced retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy if confirmed by the Senate.
Kavanaugh, 53, has served since 2006 on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A former White House aide under Bush who previously worked for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Democratic former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, he faced a long confirmation battle when Bush nominated him to his current post.
The appointment will not change the ideological breakdown of a court that already has a 5-4 conservative majority, but nevertheless could move the court to the right. Kennedy sometimes joined the liberal justices on key rulings on divisive social issues like abortion and gay rights, a practice his replacement may not duplicate.
Kennedy, 81, announced on June 27 plans to retire after three decades on the court, effective on July 31.