Barrett, confirmed to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on October 31, has faced opposition by abortion rights groups because she has called Roe v. Wade an erroneous decision.
A George W. Bush appointee to his current position, Kavanaugh had worked as counsel and staff secretary in the White House before his nomination. "A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law", he told the assembled dignitaries, as Trump beamed.
Trump made the announcement during a nationally televised speech Monday at 9 p.m. ET, CBS News reported, with Kavanaugh and the judge's family by his side.
The nomination, 12 days after the retirement of Mr Kennedy, gives Republicans their best chance in decades at securing a five-member majority (out of nine) in the highest court in the U.S. and power to shape legal battles over guns, immigration, the environment and civil rights.
However, Democrats are expected to fight against the confirmation since Kennedy's departure serves as the loss of a deciding swing vote on many progressive issues. Without Republican defections, however, Senate rules leave Democrats with scant options to block confirmation of Trump's nominee.
The high court handed Trump and his administration a series of victories in its term that ended on the day of Kennedy's retirement, including a major decision upholding the president's travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries. Given the Republican's slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, the conservative seemingly already has the numbers to take Kennedy's seat. With the expected absence of Republican senator John McCain due to brain cancer, Republicans only have 50 votes.
Liberals also fear that a new conservative justice will help overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which protects a woman's right to an abortion.
All three face gruelling re-election campaigns this year in their conservative states. Joe Manchin and North Dakota Sen.
"Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law", Trump said as he introduced his nominee in a prime-time address from the White House, praising him as "one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time". His views and dissensions, however, on health care and abortion, are more in the centre and have got him in hot water with the hard right in the past.
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"Bob Casey is so blinded by partisanship that he is opposing a nominee for the Supreme Court before the pick is announced".
This year, Kavanaugh authored a dissent to a D.C. Circuit decision to allow a teenaged immigrant to get an abortion, writing that it "is ultimately based on a new constitutional principle as novel as it is wrong: a new right for unlawful immigrant minors in U.S. Government detention to obtain immediate abortion on demand, thereby barring any Government efforts to expeditiously transfer the minors to their immigration sponsors before they make that momentous life decision".
During her nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barrett was questioned about her religious beliefs. Sen. In addition to protesting Trump's nomination, they argued that Democrats have not done enough to protect the liberal progress. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, the GOP nominee challenging McCaskill this fall, released a campaign ad this week targeting her over the coming Supreme Court fight.