While activists and progressive groups are targeting moderate Republican senators who support abortion rights like Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, urging them to reject any Trump nominee who is hostile to Roe v. Wade, a handful of Democrats will be key in deciding whether the president gets his pick confirmed to the high court, because of the razor-thin partisan divide in the Senate.
And it's significant because his choice is expected to swing the court towards the right.
Judge Brett Kavanaugh built a solidly conservative record during his 12 years on the appeals court in Washington that decides consequential cases on health care, the environment and other major governmental policies.
Trump is hoping to replicate his successful nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch past year. CBS also reports he is a staunch supporter of Second Amendment.
The Senate must confirm Trump's nominee, who will be backed campaign-style by the White House and conservative legal organizations.
The recommendation continued to underscore McConnell's significant behind-the-scenes role in the process - one bolstered by months of close coordination with the White House, and with White House counsel Don McGahn specifically, on filling circuit and district judge slots.
"Judge Kavanaugh's reasoning on religious liberty, Obamacare, and issues concerning life have proven to be of major concern", said AFA President Tim Wildmon.
With a short list of candidates already in hand, Trump has moved quickly to select his nominee, just 12 days after Kennedy announced his retirement. The Senate ultimately confirmed Gorsuch by a 54-45 vote, with only three Democrats crossing the partisan divide in his favor.
Trump previous year appointed Neil Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices, after Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
A GOP official said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had suggested Kyl for the task. The other finalists, also federal appeals court judges, were Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania and Raymond Kethledge of MI.
Trump had been going back and forth between Kavanaugh, the favorite of White House counsel Don McGahn, and Hardiman, whom the president's sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a former colleague of Hardiman's, has pressed him to choose.
Trump's decision stands to be among the most consequential of his presidency as he seeks to shape the high court to his conservative leanings for decades to come.
In October of previous year, Kavanaugh was part of the D.C. Court of appeals that ultimately ruled on an immigrant girl's right to have an abortion while she was in USA custody. He also has taken an expansive view of executive power and has favored limits on investigating the president. Kavanaugh worked for Kozinski as a clerk in 1991, and the two have maintained professional ties over the years, including when they worked for Kennedy. The Trump team, facing its own Mueller investigation, has looked into that part of Mr Kavanaugh's resume, according to CNN's White House correspondent Jim Acosta. He said Sunday that he hoped to have made a decision by noon Monday.
"There is no one in America who is more qualified for this position and no one who is more deserving", Trump said of his nominee". And they certainly want Trump's choice confirmed before the November election, when Democrats have a long-shot chance of retaking the Senate majority.
I urge Sen. Susan Collins to join with Democrats and block any Supreme Court justice nomination until the Russian investigation is complete.
He called the system Trump is using to pick the nominee - mining from a pre-chosen pool of 25 conservative candidates - "corrupt".