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Battle begins over Trump's Supreme Court pick

Battle begins over Trump's Supreme Court pick


AFP
WASHINGTON
LAWMAKERS fired the opening shots on Tuesday in a bitter political battle to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative judge tapped by President Donald Trump to fill a key vacancy on the US Supreme Court.
If confirmed by the Senate, Kavanaugh would help cement a rightward tilt on America's top court, potentially shaping many aspects of US society for decades to come, including women's access to abortions.
Trump on Monday nominated Kavanaugh, 53, as his pick to succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, saying the federal judge has"impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law."
Kavanaugh's job-for-life appointment would lock down a conservative majority on the court following the departure of Kennedy, who acted as swing vote on a number of key issues including the legalisation of gay marriage across America.
Opposition figures wasted no time in assailing Kavanaugh, warning his confirmation would usher in the erosion of civil liberties and long-held rights, while conservatives were quick to drum up support for the nominee.
In selecting Kavanaugh, Trump"has put women's reproductive rights and vital health care protections... at grave, grave risk," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters outside the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
"Now is the time for the American people to make their voices heard, loudly, clearly, from one end of this country to the other."
Liberal Senator Bernie Sanders said Kavanaugh would serve as a"rubber-stamp for an extreme, right-wing agenda pushed by corporations and billionaires."
But the Senate's top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, hailed a"superb choice" in Kavanaugh and urged senators to"put partisanship aside and consider his legal qualifications with the fairness, respect and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command."

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