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President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to join the US Supreme Court, setting the stage for a dramatic confirmation battle over a stalwart conservative who could shape the direction of the court for decades to come.

During his remarks, President Trump touted his previous Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch, who replaced the late-Justice Antonin Scalia a year ago. Barrett, in her mid-40s, is a judge for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals; she was nominated by Trump.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said the president "outsourced" his decision to the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, which first helped Trump compile a list of 25 prospective Supreme Court justices during the 2016 campaign. Judge Kavanaugh, a U.S. Circuit Court judge for Washington, D.C., would fill the vacant seat left by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his departure in late June.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told Trump that the judges presenting the fewest obstacles to confirmation are Raymond Kethledge of the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Thomas Hardiman of the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kavanaugh is Trump's second high court pick after Justice Neil Gorsuch. Still, Republicans can only lose one vote.

His appointment will not change the ideological tilt of a court that already has a 5-4 conservative majority, but he could nevertheless shift the bench further right. Multiple sources have told ABC News that Trump has narrowed his decision to four potential candidates. Hardiman, 52, who was also appointed by Bush, serves on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kavanaugh said that if he's confirmed, he "will keep an open mind in every case" and "always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law".

Republicans hold 51 seats in the Senate, though Arizona Sen.

The president added: "There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving". Barrett is also seen as a potentially divisive nominee because of statements she's made about her Catholic faith and about abortion.

"I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade, because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law", Collins said on CNN Sunday.

Kavanaugh later contributed to prosecutor Kenneth Starr's report into Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

President Trump will need a majority of USA senators to vote in favor of Kavanaugh to garner his approval.

Burrus says that while "Trump's method of choosing a justice is not exactly traditional, but it is not that objectionable given the circumstances".

Two female Republican senators - Maine Sen.

Trump made the election of conservative judges to the Supreme Court a cornerstone of his 2016 campaign.

Trump defeated Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election and has disparaged both Clintons.

Amid July 8 television talk-show buzz about President Donald Trump's upcoming Supreme Court nominee announcement, Republicans expressed optimism that the Senate will confirm any of the likely candidates the president puts forth. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer earlier on Monday said Trump's nominee should be obligated to make his or her views clear on matters like the Roe ruling. But there are red state Senate Democrats who are up for re-election in November like Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of WV and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

The US Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter on contentious laws and disputes between states and the federal government. In a 2009 article in The Minnesota Law Review, Kavanaugh wrote that presidents are under such extraordinary pressure they "should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office".