Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh starts making the rounds on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON -- President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, started meeting with senators at the Capitol who will determine his fate.

"We look forward to the confirmation process and it will unfold in the next few weeks," said Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Nominated to replace the court's key swing vote, Kavanaugh is considered a intellectual powerhouse with a clear conservative judicial philosophy and a lengthy record.

With the court in the balance, liberal judicial activist groups were urging Democrats to oppose the nomination even before the president announced his choice.

On the right, groups like the Judicial Crisis Network are spending millions in advertising, targeting red state Democrats up for reelection in November, as senior Senate Democrats called for battle.

"For every American who cares about women's health, about protections for people with preexisting conditions, about civil rights, labor rights, LGBTQ rights, environmental rights, now is the time to fight," said Sen. Chuck Schumer.

On the flashpoint issue of abortion, as a judge, Kavanaugh ruled against an immigrant teenager seeking an abortion while in federal detention. But angering social conservatives, he refused to go further and say she had no constitutional right to abortion.

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who supports abortion rights, noted his restraint.

"Obviously that's one of the cases that I'm sure i'll be discussing with him," Collins said.

Democrats also focused on a law review article Kavanaugh wrote in 2009 that said a president should not face criminal investigation while in office, and instead be impeached for wrongdoing.

"Not only did Mr. Kavanaugh say that a president should not be subpoenaed, he said a president shouldn't be investigated," Schumer said. "Mr. Kavanaugh, is the president above the law?"

One key red state Democrat, West Virginia's Joe Manchin, said he had no issue with the article and was keeping an open mind.

"I think we need to take a look at and do a deep dive, do our job, and right now senators are making decisions about how they're going to be on these issues and I think it's wrong," Manchin said.

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    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.