President Trump announced his selection of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be his second Supreme Court justice Monday night. Speaking in the East Room of the White House, the president said that what mattered to him was "not a judge's political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require."
"I am pleased to say that I have found, without a doubt, such a person," he said in announcing Kavanaugh's nomination. "There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving," the president also said.
The D.C. Circuit Appeals Court judge "has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and aproven commitment to equal justice under the law," the president continued. He's "a judge's judge, a true thought leader among his peers. He's a brilliant jurist with a clear and effective writing style, universally regarded as one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time."
Kavanaugh thanked the president for the nomination, and in anticipating his coming meetings with senators on Capitol hill tomorrow, said, "I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic." He promised, "If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case and I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law."
Within a few days of Justice Anthony Kennedy's announcement that he would retire from the court this summer, Mr. Trump had narrowed the field to four: Judges Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge -- all young and all viewed as conservative. Ultimately, the president settled on Kavanaugh, the establishment favorite.
By Monday afternoon, he had finalized his decision, sources confirmed to CBS chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford.