President Donald Trump has nominated Brett M. 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.

"What matters is 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 I have found without doubt such a person," Trump said as he announced Kavanaugh's nomination at the White House Monday evening.

Trump called Kavanaugh "one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time," saying he is "considered a judge's judge and a true thought leader among his peers." Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law," Trump said. Kavanaugh will begin meeting with senators on Tuesday.

According to the White House: 

"Brett M. Kavanaugh has served for over a decade as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—referred to as the “Second Highest Court in the Land”—building a first-rate judicial record and reputation.

"Alongside his long career of public service, he is a youth basketball coach, a church volunteer, a family man, and a mentor in local schools. He stays active, playing basketball and running. His mother, Maryland Circuit Court Judge Martha Kavanaugh, blazed a trail for women in the legal profession. He and his wife Ashley have two school-aged children."

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