For two weeks, President Donald Trump kept America guessing: In the high stakes political drama concerning who he would pick to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, the president’s top choice appeared to change day-by-day.
In the end, though, the president went with establishment favorite Brett Kavanaugh, an experienced Washington, D.C., Republican with ties to former President George W. Bush, and the first choice of Trump's White House counsel Donald McGahn.
Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, has extensive legal credentials, but his ties to a number of high-profile political scandals have drawn criticism from Democrats and wariness from a number of Republicans.
Throughout Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, senators will likely scrutinize his role in a report outlining the case for impeaching former President Bill Clinton. The issue has increased political salience right now, as some Democrats call for Trump's impeachment.
His past rulings against knocking down parts of the Affordable Care Act — the health care law Trump promised to shred — could also play a role in the evolution of U.S. policy, as the top court may hear more challenges to the law.
Still, Kavanaugh appears set to lay down mostly conservative rulings on issues that matter to Republicans, including abortion, the environment and administrative law. Combined with the confirmation of fellow young conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch last year, the Kavanaugh nomination follows through on what Trump promised as a candidate and conservatives hoped would come to pass following his election.