CNN reported no Democrat lawmakers were in the East Room when Trump made his announcement.
Trump vowed during the campaign to appoint justices who would vote to overturn Roe, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, and his appointment to replace Kennedy could make that a reality.
Relishing the guessing game beyond the White House gates, President Trump had little to say about his choice before the announcement. Former President George W. Bush, who nominated him to the D.C. Circuit Court, called him a "fine husband, father, and friend - and a man of the highest integrity". He was a runner-up a year ago when Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Jones' position could be critical to Kavanaugh's confirmation as the Republicans hold only a 51-49 advantage in the Senate. "I am deeply honored to be nominated to fill his seat on the Supreme Court", the 53-year-old Kavanaugh said as he received the nomination. Garland, an eminently qualified centrist, would be concluding his second year as an associate justice on the supreme court. At the top of that list is abortion. That decision was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court this year in a landmark ruling.
While the president has been pondering his choice, his aides have been preparing for what is expected to be a tough confirmation fight. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on "Fox News Sunday".
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Kyl now works as a visiting fellow for the American enterprise institute and as senior of counsel for Covington & Burling, a high powered Washington D.C. law firm. The White House hopes Kyl's close ties to Senate Republicans will help smooth the path for confirmation. So, too, did Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
Kennedy, 81, announced on June 27 plans to retire after three decades on the court, effective on July 31.
Democrats who were invited but declined included Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of IN and Heidi Heitkamp North Dakota. But almost all Senate Democrats and many Democratic voters are expected to oppose Trump's nominee. Democrats are voicing alarm about what the new justice could mean for charged issues such as abortion rights and gay rights. He was succeeded by Republican Jeff Flake in 2012 and is now senior counsel at Covington & Burling, the powerhouse bipartisan law and lobbying firm that boasts not just Kyl but also the likes of former Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California and former Attorney General Eric Holder. Despite the fact he has not ruled on any cases touching abortion, Senate Democrats may united to block the nomination, and while pro-abortion Republicans like Susan Collins from ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska may refuse to confirm someone they believe might overturn Roe v. Wade. The two have supported access to abortion services.
Barrett, 46, has the least judicial experience of the four, with only eight months as a judge after spending most of her career as a conservative legal scholar.
In a statement delivered at the White House in front of reporters, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, and more, POTUS revealed his pick, which comes just two weeks after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement.
He has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit since 2006. He financed his law degree at the Georgetown University Law Center by driving a taxi.
"I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh and to the Senate's fair consideration of his nomination, beginning with the work of Chairman Grassley and the Judiciary Committee". "But in my respectful judgment, deciding the constitutional issues in this case at this time would contravene an important and long-standing federal statute, the Anti-Injunction Act, which carefully limits the jurisdiction of federal courts over tax-related matters".