President Donald Trump on Monday nominated conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, a decision set to tilt the top judicial body further to the right with momentous implications for American society.
A former advisor to George W Bush who now sits on the US Court of Appeals in Washington, Kavanaugh began his career as a clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy and will succeed him on the nine-seat bench when he retires at the end of the month.
"Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications, and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law," Trump said as he announced his much-anticipated decision in a prime-time address from the White House.
"There is no one in America more qualified for this position and no one more deserving," Trump said, urging the Senate to swiftly confirm his nominee.
Kennedy long served as the tie-breaking swing vote between the Supreme Court's conservatives and liberals, and his departure handed Trump an opportunity to place a decidedly conservative stamp on the bench.
The US leader kept the suspense running for days over his choice for the crucial vacancy, narrowing the selection down to a shortlist of four judges, all with solid right-wing credentials.