(JTA) — President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy upon his retirement at the end of July.
A a federal appeals court judge in Washington, Kavanaugh, 53, is well respected by the Republican establishment, although some on the right have said he is not conservative enough.
Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale Law School, and he clerked for Kennedy on the Supreme Court. He helped draft the Starr Report, which called for President Bill Clinton to be impeached because he lied about having had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern.
He fought on the legal team urging Florida not to have a recount in the 2000 presidential election between Bush and Al Gore, Clinton’s vice president. The Supreme Court decision not to do so led to Bush becoming the president. Kavanaugh served in the Bush administration, including as the president’s staff secretary. His wife, Ashley Estes, served as personal secretary to George W. Bush.
In 2015, Kavanaugh, a Roman Catholic, filed a dissent in a case involving religious employers and reproductive rights. The case said that religious employers did not have to provide contraceptives but had to file a form telling the government they were not doing so, but Kavanaugh argued that the requirement violated religious freedom.
Liberal Jewish groups, such as the National Council of Jewish Women, expressed their dismay when Kennedy announced his retirement last month.
Orthodox groups are likely to welcome a court that welcomes public religious expression.
Brett Kavanaugh, Worked To Impeach Clinton Over Lewinsky Affair, Nominated For Supreme Court
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .