Former Sen. Jon Kyl to Guide Trump Supreme Court Pick Through Nomination Process

Supercommittee member Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., smiles during a TV interview about the deficit reducing panel's unfinished work Monday morning on Capitol Hill as their deadline approaches with little expectation for success, in Washington, Nov. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl will guide President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee through the confirmation process to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, the White House said Monday.

White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah announced former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl will serve as the “Lead Sherpa” for the president’s forthcoming Supreme Court nominee and will help guide the pick as he or she begins corresponding with members of Congress. Similarly to what Kyl’s duties will entail, former New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte guided Judge Neil Gorsuch through his nomination process last year.

Kyl, a former Senate minority whip who retired from politics in 2013, is regarded as deeply knowledgeable of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The once second-highest ranking Republican senator was a member of the committee “during four of the last five Supreme Court justices’ confirmation hearings,” notes

Further, Roll Call reports the 76-year-old’s “registered lobbying clients this year have included Qualcomm Inc., JW Aluminum, mining company Freeport-McMoRan, the Coalition for American Retirement and the private equity investor Gordon Sondland, who is co-founder of Aspen Capital, according to congressional lobbying disclosures.”

Kyl also served on the Senate Finance Committee, where he was a member of the Subcommittee on Taxation and Internal Revenue Service Oversight. Additionally, the former Arizona lawmaker chaired both the Senate Republican Conference and Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Kyl currently works at Covington & Burling, advising American multi-national corporations about matters of health care, intellectual property, and national security. Previously, Kyl advised recently confirmed Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the nomination processes.

The powerful Republican voted to confirm Judges Samuel Alito and John Roberts to the Supreme Court and voted against both liberal Judges Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

The former Arizona lawmaker declined to comment on the appointment.

President Trump is scheduled to announce his Supreme Court pick Monday evening at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and is expected to select one of four frontrunners: Judges Amy Barrett, Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, or Raymond Kethledge.


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