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President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, who is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File)  

President Donald Trump announced he is nominating D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, using a prime-time television address on Monday that will kick off a contentious battle in Washington over the replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy and the future of the court. Mr. Kavanaugh, if he is confirmed, will be the fifth Catholic on the nine-person court.

Speaking from the White House, Mr. Trump called Mr. Kavanaugh “judge’s judge, a true thought leader among his peers.”

Mr. Kavanaugh, who was joined at the announcement by his wife and two daughters, took the podium after the president and thanked Mr. Trump for his nomination.

During his remarks, Mr. Kavanaugh highlighted his Catholic faith and Jesuit connections.

“The motto of my Jesuit high school was ‘men for others.’ I have tried to live that creed.”

“The motto of my Jesuit high school was ‘men for others,’” Mr. Kavanaugh said, referencing Georgetown Preparatory School, from which he graduated in 1983. “I have tried to live that creed.”

(The motto “Men for Others” was popularized in a 1973 speech to alumni of Jesuit schools by Pedro Arrupe, S.J., who was then the superior general of the Jesuits. Today, many Jesuit schools use the phrase “Men and Women for Others” or “People for Others,” though Georgetown Prep educates just young men.)

Mr. Kavanaugh also thanked the head of D.C. Catholic Charities, Monsignor John Enzler, who was in the audience.

“I am part of the vibrant Catholic community in the DC area. The members of that community disagree about many things but we are united by a commitment to serve,” Mr. Kavanaugh said. “Father John Enzler is here. Forty years ago I was an altar boy for Father John. These days I help him serve meals to the homeless at Catholic Charities.”

Mr. Kavanaugh was seen as the frontrunner for the nomination. He is often described as a Washington insider, with close ties to the Bush family, and Mr. Trump had said he wanted a candidate who attended Harvard or Yale, like all the justices currently on the court. Mr. Kavanaugh graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School and he has taught a course at Harvard. At 53, Mr. Kavanaugh could be on the court for decades, another attribute favored by the president.

If Mr. Kavanaugh is confirmed, the court will have two graduates of Georgetown Prep. Justice Neil Gorsuch graduated from the school just two years after Mr. Kavanaugh. Washingtonian magazine reports that Mr. Kavanaugh was part of the student newspaper and captain of the school’s basketball team.

“I am part of the vibrant Catholic community in the DC area. The members of that community disagree about many things but we are united by a commitment to serve.”

Today, Mr. Kavanaugh is a lector at Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church in Washington and a volunteer for D.C. Catholic Charities, according to his official biography. He also tutors at the Washington Jesuit Academy, a Catholic middle school.

Justin Walker, who teaches law at the University of Louisville and who once clerked for both Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Kavanaugh, wrote an essay at the National Review in which he called Mr. Kavanaugh a champion for religious liberty.

“Whether you agree with him or not—and many liberals do not—Judge Kavanaugh has been a steadfast and fearless supporter of religious liberty for decades,” Mr. Walker wrote.

“When he was in private practice in the 1990s, he chaired the Federalist Society’s Religious Liberty practice group and worked pro bono on cases defending religious freedom,” Mr. Walker continued. “He wrote pro bono amicus briefs defending religious believers in high-profile Supreme Court cases. He represented a synagogue pro bono in a local zoning dispute. He advocated for the selection of judges who protect religious liberty. And as a judge himself, his record of defending religious liberty is unparalleled.”

Mr. Kavanaugh worked for Kenneth Starr during the investigation of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and later as an aide to President George W. Bush. His broad views on presidential impeachment have raised eyebrows in recent days, as Mr. Trump’s campaign continues to be investigated by a special counsel.

Mr. Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, the former personal secretary to President George W. Bush, have two daughters. If Mr. Kavanaugh is confirmed, the religious makeup of the court will remain unchanged: five will be Catholic, three Jewish and one Protestant. (Justice Gorsuch was raised Catholic but now attends an Episcopal church.)

“Whether you agree with him or not—and many liberals do not—Judge Kavanaugh has been a steadfast and fearless supporter of religious liberty for decades.”

Mr. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said they want to confirm the nominee before November elections. Democratic leaders have argued that there should not be a vote until after elections. They cite Mr. McConnell’s refusal to hold hearings in 2016 for Merrick Garland, who was nominated by former President Barack Obama following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. After taking office, Mr. Trump nominated Justice Gorsuch, who was confirmed by a 54-45 mostly party-line vote in the U.S. Senate last year.

This story was updated with quotes from Mr. Kavanaugh's address.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
JR Cosgrove
6 years ago

Let the criticism begin. "The new Supreme Court pick is very “controversial,” whoever he or she turned out to be. That was the consensus of ABC’s Nightline. About 90 minutes before Donald Trump announced the name of Judge Brett Kavanaugh."

Breyer, while Jewish, has a daughter, Chloe Breyer, who is an Episcopal priest.

Franklin Cho
6 years ago

wow... that is so interesting. didn't know that.

Gay Timothy O'Dreary
6 years ago

“Let the criticism begin”

Since you asked, here goes, the Millstone Award for J Cosgrove, for being such a wretched scandal on these forums, always seeking attention and being a prideful, pompous arse

“Holy things are forbidden to be given to dogs, that is, to notorious sinners: whereas hidden deeds may not be published, but are to be left to the Divine judgment.”
St Thomas Aquinas

Remove yourself from the internet for 28 days and smell like the sheep. You already sound like them

JR Cosgrove
6 years ago

Thank you for your kind words.

In addition to the pre determined criticism by the news media, there were protesters at the Supreme Court building demonstrating against any pick. As soon as the announcement was made, anti Kavanaugh signs appeared.

Tim O'Leary
6 years ago

Sheesh, Wilfreda - what intolerant language, and unthinking scriptural judgmentalism! And unprovoked. Have you tried some other blogging approach, or just not blogging?

JR Cosgrove
6 years ago


The criticism is everywhere in this site. Very little rational.

Phillip Stone
6 years ago

Wilfreda Gonzalez, you have not covered yourself in glory by your arrogant criticism and condemnation of a fellow human being. Stick to horrible sites like The Guardian or confine yourself to the Twitter-verse, it is post like yours multiplied that has NCR closing their comment section. One wonders if you come over here from there.

Sister Lea Hunter
6 years ago

Wilfreda, as for "“Holy things are forbidden to be given to dogs,..."you might be interested in our post: https://ritebeyondrome.com/2018/07/07/gospel-woman-speaks-for-misfits-outside-traditional-religious-boundaries/. Sister Lea

Franklin Cho
6 years ago

This sucks....Should've gone with Barrett. You blew it Donny. You went with the safe pick.

Franklin Cho
6 years ago

Now we wait for RBG so that Amy Barrett can replace her.

Jenna Lyndly
6 years ago

I don't understand it. Why would people who heed Jesus' teachings support Paul Ryan+now Kavanaugh just because they are Catholic? Both want to take healthcare away which is NOT something consistent with Jesus' teachings. Ryan dreams of taking food from children. Follow the guidance of See, Judge, Act--- Not just anyone who claims to be a Catholic regardless of their actions. SCOTUS isn't a ball team. Their decisions impact lives, just like Paul Ryan's have. Not 1 Catholic called him out for his unChristlike actions.

Nora Bolcon
6 years ago

Wow! A Catholic who is not sound asleep! I read this stuff and I just cringe. While illegalizing abortion will only increase its happening, according to what has happened everywhere else in the world where it is illegal, what will definitely also occur along with this pick is extremely higher rates of poverty in the U.S., especially in the South, greater labor abuses country-wide, a poorer middle-class, and increased bankruptcies returning to our country due to inability to pay for medical conditions that will now be uncovered, regardless of how necessary, and increased handi-caps and deaths due to illness for the same reasons. Not to mention we will see an increase in debt coming from hospital care sky-rocketing and our nation being forced to pick up the check from it (which is actually the most primary reason Obama Care was created. We were paying for wasteful care thru our taxes by the millions and it wasn't making the nation healthier.) and now we will have to re-install that practice.

All of these things that come with conservatives will make the 1 percent much richer than they are already and the rest of us much poorer. The elderly will be especially made poorer since Medicare is already being attacked, as we speak, so elderly care will increasingly land on the wallets of the elderly themselves.

We will see increased abuse to all immigrants and to their families and we will possibly see civil rights abuses against non-European descent folks and women increase.

So now we can all say together: Great job Bishops! Thanks for persuading so many Good Catholics to vote for Trump. I hope you are proud of yourselves! Yet it does seem strange to us that nothing Christian seems to be coming from the people you would have us support.

Stuart Meisenzahl
6 years ago

You just keep repeating this utter nonsense that limiting abortion causes abortions to increase....There is no "cause and effect" relationship establishedby any statistical source. This a construct of your own conflation of unrelated data in non comparable circumstances. If your statement had any validity then the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood's statistical arm, would be making that argument and it is not doing so.

Baron Corvo
6 years ago

Precisely, Jenna.

This man is a dangerous zealot that values corporate welfare far more than the welfare of God's children.

The magazine America needs to wise up and realize every Roman Catholic jurist - especially one with such an idious record - is NOT qualified for the Supreme Court

Vince Killoran
6 years ago

Last week the conservative readers on this website excoriated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so it's the other side's turn to return the favor, right?

Although it's not our place to condemn how Judge Kavanaugh lives his faith, or forms his conscience he did put his Catholic faith front and center in his remarks. Among many things, this boastful line caught my eye: "These days I help him serve meals to the homeless at Catholic Charities." Isn't humility the best cure for pride?

We can, and should, critique his public comments and decisions on religion and the law. (Remember Paul Ryan's ham handed effort to refashion subsidiarity to fit the GOP agenda?) That's our responsibility as citizens.

Vincent Gaglione
6 years ago

I know little about Judge Kavanaugh. His Catholic “bona fides” do not necessarily make him any better or any worse than any other justice on the court. We’ve had too many examples recently of the alleged saintly behaving malignly to rely on Catholic upbringing and practice as a sure sign of decency. Ironically, sometimes escaping that upbringing has brought redemption for some - Mike Pence perhaps, though I don’t believe it!

I find the conservative current brand of “religious freedom” noxious to a pluralistic and diverse civic landscape, often masking gross discrimination.

The conservatives do bring to the courts a decided bias favorable to corporations and businesses often at the expense of consumers and workers and ordinary citizens. The wealthy protect their own to be sure. I recoiled mildly therefore at his public comment about feeding the hungry as part of Catholic Charities of DC. While his volunteerism is laudable, I would hope that his decisions would reflect as well a concern for those societal and civic values that would make unnecessary such volunteerism.

Patty Bennett
6 years ago

"...that would make unnecessary such volunteerism." I understand that feeling, but then I thought of it from another perspective. Wouldn't it really be nice if there were no poverty, and everyone had the necessities of life?
In a way, it would, but think of what we would miss. Everyone has some gift/talent to share, (even the poorest of the poor) and it is in the sharing that we have the opportunity to give love, AND to grow in love, and virtue.
Jesus told us that we would always have the poor with us. Whenever there is suffering, there is a greater good that God will allow to come from it; we need to cooperate with God in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. In loving each other, we have the opportunity to grow in holiness.
We can't judge everything. I'm sure we've all heard people say things along the lines of: "When I volunteer at the soup kitchen, I actually receive more than I give; they're helping me, too." I don't think these people are just trying to "brag" about what they do. They probably really mean it.
If we think of volunteerism as just busy-work and a chore to be crossed off the check-list, it's probably something that isn't very valuable, BUT, if we see it as offering our time, talents, treasure to others to share the love of God--REAL charity/caritas (love), it will NEVER be unnecessary.

JR Cosgrove
6 years ago

The wealthy vote for the Democratic Party. Given, that how is the current pick in their favor?

JR Cosgrove
6 years ago

We’ve had too many examples recently of the alleged saintly behaving malignly to rely on Catholic upbringing and practice as a sure sign of decency.

So are you anti Catholic? It sure sounds that way.

J. Calpezzo
6 years ago

The President is owned by Putin and with the Mueller investigation about to bring him down, this nominee should not even receive a Confirmation hearing. Trump is worse than a lame duck. And, he has all the class of a petty thief by stiffing his driver of 24 years his overtime pay.

Eric Hendry
6 years ago

Actually, if confirmed by the US Senate, Kavanaugh replacing Kennedy would maintain the current majority of five practicing Catholics i.e. John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas. Neil Gorsuch, who was raised Catholic, currently worships with his British-born wife at an Episcopalian church. The current bench is completed by three Jewish Justices (Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagen).

Does this accurately reflect US population demographics? Not exactly. Catholics currently make up roughly 23.8 percent of the US population, which happens to be the single largest US religious demographic, while Jews make up roughly 1.9 percent of the population. Together, they represent around only one quarter of the entire US population demographic.

US Protestant statistics break down to roughly 25.4 percent who loosely identify as a variety of Evangelicals in belief, plus 14.7 percent who identify as Mainline Protestant, and 6.5 percent who identify as African American Protestant.

An additional 22.8 percent currently describe themselves either as "unaffiliated" or "religious nones," along with 3.1 percent who identify as "atheists," another 4.0 percent as "agnostic," and 15.8 percent who describe themselves as "nothing in particular."

Annette Magjuka
6 years ago

It is difficult for me to have any positive feelings about this nomination, because I am still outraged that the GOP refused to consider Obama's pick. For me, these picks are illegitimate because of the cheating. I believe in the primacy of conscience. For this reason, I think a woman should be able to decide if she wants to grow a baby inside her body. This should be HER choice, not Pence's, not a bunch of male bishops, not the all-male healthcare committee. The religious liberty laws scare me. I believe in the separation of church and state. These laws put this in jeopardy. I have been outraged by priests who actively campaigned against Hillary and helped to put Trump in office. This is not the will of the people. The majority did not want him, and now his Supreme Court picks will shape our country for generations. I am really upset by this. I am sure Kavanaugh is an intelligent person. I do fear some of his seemingly rigid, pro corporate perspectives.

Franklin Cho
6 years ago

Huh??? Illegitimate because of the cheating? If you think a woman has a choice to grow a baby or murder it then exactly are you doing on a Catholic website?

Šime Skelin
6 years ago

Listen to the critics who highlight Cavanaugh abortion stand but who can't see the problem in the murders of babies or in the homosexual perversion. What is this-Voice of Jesuits or Voice of Freemasons-Sotonists?

Sister Lea Hunter
6 years ago

"Mr. Kavanaugh a champion for religious liberty"...
"an essay at the National Review in which he called Mr. Kavanaugh a champion for religious"..."chaired the Federalist Society’s Religious Liberty practice group and worked pro bono on cases defending religious freedom, liberty"... "a steadfast and fearless supporter of religious liberty for decades"..."s a judge himself, his record of defending religious liberty is unparalleled."...
All this focus on "religious liberty" and all its political connections. And we Catholics do this all for Jesus and his Gospel? I wonder what Jesus would have to say about all this.

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