President Donald Trump will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to the Supreme Court.
The appointment will likely precipitate a sharp shift in the Court’s balance of power, solidifying a conservative majority on the panel for the foreseeable future.
Ardent speculation abounded in the capital for days as the selection process unfolded. Supporters of the leading contenders, including former law clerks and professional acquaintances, waged a bitter shadow campaign, lobbying the White House and hawking opposition research to reporters in a bid to position their preferred candidate for success.
Rumor-mongering reached a fever pitch Monday, as unconfirmed reports circulated that Kavanaugh was hustled out of his D.C. Circuit chambers to a motorcade of black SUVs, while others claimed Judge Amy Coney Barrett, another frontrunner, was on a flight bound for Washington with family.
All told, the president has apparently succeeded in commanding unprecedented press attention to his selection.
Democrats immediately mobilized in opposition to the nomination. A number of Democratic senators vowed to vote down the president’s nominee before the pick was even announced, while a smattering of demonstrators gathered outside the high court.
A coalition of pro-choice groups launched a multi-platform advertising campaign urging moderate Republicans to oppose any Supreme Court nominee who does not publicly commit to protecting Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that announced a constitutional right to abortion.
Conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) are expected to spend significant sums in support of the nominee. JCN confirmed Monday that they made a $1.4 million ad buy in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia and will air spots as soon as the nominee is announced.
All four states, which Trump carried comfortably in the 2016 election, are represented by Democratic senators.