Anthony Kennedy nominated to Supreme Court in 1987

President Reagan said the 51-year-old Kennedy was "on the very shortest of my short list for some time now."
4:37 | 06/19/18

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Transcript for Anthony Kennedy nominated to Supreme Court in 1987
Getting to the White House to a freak early season Washington snowstorm wasn't easy but the president wasn't waiting to unveil his latest choice for the Supreme Court. Anthony Cannon at 51 year old federal circuit court judge from California. I guess by now it's. No secret the judge Kennedy has been on the very shortest of my short lists for some time now. Well yes but not ahead of judge Robert Bork who went down in flames as the senate floors or judge Douglas Ginsburg who went up in marijuana smoke in the senate cloak rooms he. But this time both attorney general Edwin Meese and you don't ask Howard Baker's pulled together instead of separately on a recommendation to the president I believe that this time everyone paid close attention to the checking process the experience of the last several months. Has made all of this a bit wiser. Administration officials question judge Kennedy for three hours on Sunday. The FBI questioned him for ten hours on Monday and Tuesday. And President Reagan who hadn't even bothered to meet judge Ginsburg is second pick before choosing him questioned Kennedy himself Monday evening. In fact the nomination wasn't formally offered to him until fifteen minutes before announcing it. Kennedy who thanked the president before posing with his family didn't seem to mind I'm looking forward. Do this scrutiny that the senate. Should give any nominee and as the start of its constitutional didn't. If you are inspect the third choice courtesy. I am delighted that this non yeah. But some of the president's hardcore conservative backers may not be. After all a month ago at a new Jersey Republican rally mr. Reagan had defiantly promise the senate what he would do if it defeated his first choice judge Bork. And if I have to appoint another one. Try to find one that they've object to just as much as they did it. Today having chosen a conservative regarded as far more moderate than judge force the president's had to eat his words. Sometimes you make a facetious remark in somebody takes it seriously you wish you'd never said it and that's one for me. And there was one for attorney general Edwin meets on the background check on judge Ginsburg. Over the last. About a man who lives in confirmed. For positions in government. That means maybe in other people's doghouse but not the president. I. Judge Kennedy may not be the hard right cup of K but he may be confirmable and that is something the president desperately needs now. At least he's over one hurdle judge Kennedy said today he has never smoked marijuana. Sam Donaldson ABC news the White House. Yes well in this day and age you can be sure the judge has whole life full all be public knowledge in the weeks ahead. As ABC's Brit Hume reports tonight on Capitol Hill there is confidence. And caution. My whole preliminary indications he looks good he looks marry again. That from a Republican who oppose judge Bork and was skeptical of judge Ginsburg. Was typical of senate reaction to the new nominee but after what's happened nobody was committing himself. Although there's a lot more to know about judge Kennedy he's not that well known figure what I do know I have a favorable impression. I hope that the White House should not come up for the nomination it will not provoke a shorter controversial week. Find ourselves engaged in over the Bork and Ginsburg nominations. The first signs stood may be that that is the case but we just have to wait and see. But conservative Republican hats agree that Cranston and other senate liberals have probably gotten the best they could hope for. I think they have and I think if they try to do the same thing with regard to this. Nominee I think the American people are going to catch a Honda what they really have to. There was a tentative suggestion of opposition today from one of the civil rights groups most active against Bork. There do appear to be some problems in the civil rights area. Especially regarding judge candies decisions. On voting rights act fair housing wage discrimination and school desegregation cases. Button he said he was too early to tell. As for the possibility of conservative opposition the Senate's mr. conservative Republican Helms of North Carolina. Said judge Kennedy a telephone in just after the president's announcement Helms pronounced himself encouraged by their brief talk and said he hoped to support Kennedy. Helms of course those one of the conservatives who pushed hardest for the Ginsburg nomination and suggesting they might even filibuster judge Kennedy. But as the saying goes that was then this is now. Brit Hume ABC news on Capitol Hill.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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