Faith leaders across the country—including Rev. Franklin Graham and Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez—praised President Donald Trump's nomination Monday night of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the next justice to the United States Supreme Court.
Trump's announcement, made to a nationwide television audience, met with a standing ovation from the crowd gathered in the East Wing of the White House. If confirmed, Kavanaugh will replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement two weeks ago.
Kavanaugh stood among four finalists for the nomination. The others were Raymond Kethledge, Amy Coney Barrett—a charismatic Catholic—and Thomas Hardiman. The choice of Kavanaugh, if confirmed, could shape the judicial landscape of this country for decades to come.
On Facebook, Graham lauded Trump for "keeping" his word to nominate a conservative justice to the high court.
"He promised the American people that if he had the opportunity, he would nominate conservative justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, and he's done just that," Graham said. "CNN said it was the "Supreme Court pick for the ages." Congratulations to Judge Brett Kavanaugh on this monumentally important nomination!
"Those on the progressive, socialist left are, of course, already enraged. Another conservative justice threatens their agendas and the direction they were trying to push this country. They are rallying their forces and had begun protesting even before the announcement was made! We need to thank God for this long-awaited opportunity to change the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court. And, we need to be faithful to pray for Judge Kavanaugh and his family during the very intense confirmation process."
Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, said this in an issued statement:
I join millions of Americans in congratulating Judge Brett Kavanaugh on his nomination to the Supreme Court, a well-respected jurist widely regarded for his intellect, temperament, as well as for his dedication to the Constitution. While certainly conservative, Judge Kavanaugh is well within the mainstream of American legal thought and theory.
As our duly elected president, the selection of Justice Kennedy's replacement is President Trump's decision, and his alone, as mandated by the Constitution. I therefore urge the Senate to not unnecessarily delay or obstruct, but as polling demonstrates the majority of Americans want, to move ahead with a timely and honest confirmation process. I pray for our country in this process, that instead of yet another vitriolic and divisive political battle, the confirmation process would instead be a reaffirmation of the strength of our democracy and its institutions.
Other faith leaders chimed in their approval about Kavanaugh's nomination:
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for American Center for Law & Justice: "The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy created with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy is a superb choice who is certain to serve this nation well. Judge Kavanaugh is a brilliant jurist who embraces the philosophy of our founders—an unwavering commitment to the rule of law and the Constitution. We expect the Senate to exercise its constitutional duty to provide "advice and consent" without delay. While there [are] certain to be biased and vitriolic political attacks directed at this nominee, we believe Judge Kavanaugh's character, experience and judicial temperament will be well received by the American people. We are confident that the Senate will confirm Judge Kavanaugh, and we look forward to Judge Kavanaugh being seated in time for the start of the Supreme Court's new term in October."
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council: "For a second time, President Trump has followed through on his promise to select a nominee from the list he presented during the campaign. President Trump promised a constitutionalist—someone who will call balls and strikes according to the Constitution. We trust the president that Judge Kavanaugh will fit this mold as a justice. Judge Kavanaugh has a long and praiseworthy history of judging as an originalist, and we look forward to having a justice with his philosophical approach on the Court.
"From the day Justice Kennedy retired, the left has sought to make this vacancy all about abortion—even though many other significant issues are at stake including religious freedom and free speech. Under the Obama administration, we saw a growing assault on religious freedom and the courts became a battleground for secularists seeking to remove faith from the public square. Judge Kavanaugh resisted this trend in at least two instances—an HHS contraceptive mandate case and in an opinion supporting inauguration prayers. We are committed to working with President Trump and senators to help move the grassroots to gain the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh.
Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman: "President Trump's nominee of Brett Kavanaugh for the critical vacancy on the Supreme Court could shape America's legal landscape for decades. Judge Kavanaugh has a distinguished legal career and is committed to interpreting the text and original meaning of the Constitution and statutes. Judges must be bound to the text and original meaning of the law. This simple judicial constraint will prevent the Supreme Court and any court from bending the law to support personal ideologies. The Supreme Court needs to remove itself from political decision-making and personal preferences."
Jentezen Franklin, Senior Pastor of Free Chapel: "The president has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the newest associate justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, and I'm thrilled with his choice. Judge Kavanaugh has proven his commitment to faithfully interpreting the law as it's originally written, respecting every American's right to life and liberty. The Lord rules the nations with truth and justice, and it gives me great comfort to find men and women like Judge Kavanaugh who make every effort to do the same. I urge the Senate to confirm him without delay."
Paula White Cain, Senior Pastor of New Destiny Center: "If President Trump hit a home run with Justice Gorsuch, in the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh he's hit a grand slam. President Trump has done it yet again, fulfilled a promise exactly as he said he would. In Judge Kavanaugh, we literally could not have asked for more. His excellent legal mind, along with his impeccable character and temperament, will serve the Supreme Court and all Americans well for years to come, regardless of political ideology. I congratulate Judge Kavanaugh on this great honor and pray he will enjoy a swift and fair confirmation."
Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship: "I want to congratulate Judge Brett Kavanaugh on his nomination to the Supreme Court. I hope Judge Kavanaugh knows his nomination comes supported by the prayers of millions of Christians who trust in their judicial system to protect the rights and liberties of all Americans. Among the many things I love about America is our trust in God, and our separation of political power. These two values place our most powerful leaders in a position of accountability to God himself in Heaven and to one another on earth. Throughout our nation's history, our Supreme Court has, again and again, been consequential in protecting our freedoms from those who have either misunderstood or misused liberty. It has helped us form a more perfect union and, as a Christian leader, I'm grateful it has often protected the rights of conscience of tens-of-millions of Americans, like myself. May God grant Judge Kavanaugh His wisdom to continue this proud legacy of defending our unalienable rights, and may God give him favor for a speedy and fair confirmation."
Ronnie Floyd, Senior Pastor of Cross Church and President of the National Day of Prayer Task Force: "Perhaps at no other time in history has the integrity of our Supreme Court mattered more. Through their decisions and rulings, our justices are shaping the future of human dignity, the definition of family and marriage and the personal assurance of religious freedom in America for generations to come. This is why I am delighted to hear President Trump has yet again nominated to the court another justice committed to following the original intent of our Constitution. Along millions of Christians across our nation, I join in praying for Judge Brett Kavanaugh as he undergoes the confirmation process and faces the challenge set before him. Our ultimate prayer is that we will all remember America doesn't need to be redefined—it needs to be rediscovered."
Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Dallas: "Evangelicals are ecstatic because in less than two years President Trump has filled a second Supreme Court vacancy with a second conservative—just as he promised. The fact that the president chose another conservative justice is more important than the name of that justice. This is a huge win for President Trump. Now, Evangelicals who give the president a 75 percent approval rating, are turning their eyes to the Senate. Americans gave Republicans control of the presidency, the House and the Senate for precisely this moment. The president has kept up his end of the bargain—and now the Senate must have the guts to do the same. We will be praying—and watching."
Jerry A. Johnson, President and CEO of National Religious Broadcasters: President Donald Trump has named an all-star to fill the ninth spot at the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is eminently qualified to serve on the high court, and National Religious Broadcasters enthusiastically urges his swift confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Recent 5-4 rulings underscore the critical importance of this vacancy. We must have Supreme Court justices who honor the values of life and liberty at the very core of our Republic, and the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh is a generational opportunity to ensure a strong majority of justices who will stay true to the Constitution and be respectful of the proper role of the judiciary as the interpreter, rather than maker, of the law.
Jack Graham, Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church: "My sincere congratulations to Judge Brett Kavanaugh for his nomination to the Supreme Court. I'm thankful we have a president who has time and again remained true to his word. Judge Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court is another checkmark in a long list of promises President Trump has kept. As is our practice as Christians, we promise to pray for Judge Kavanaugh and his family and all the other justices. My prayer is that our next justice may not only be in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia but also in the mold of a man of God: someone who acts justly, loves mercy and walks humbly with the Lord (Micah 1:8)."
Shawn Carney, President and CEO of 40 Days for Life: "The historic nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is a reflection of the sentiment at the grassroots level that elected President Trump. Americans want a Supreme Court that understands the limit of the Court to interpret rather than create or modify the law and the Constitution," said Carney. "40 Days for Life encourages pro-life Americans to call their senators and ask for a swift confirmation process, conducted with fairness and respect. The already outlandish criticisms of this appointment overlook Kavanaugh's impressive career as a judge who upholds the constitution and appeals to the law and not activism."
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