Among the four finalists identified prior to the president’s big reveal, Kavanaugh had drawn the most criticism from social conservatives for his past opinions on Obamacare and a case last year involving abortion. Among his critics was longtime conservative radio host Mark Levin, who suggested last week it was a cause for concern that Democrats had “mostly left Brett Kavanaugh alone” while trashing his fellow front-runners.

“Justice Kavanaugh would be a moderate constitutionalist somewhere between Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts,” Phillip Jauregi, president of the conservative Judicial Action Group, wrote in a memo to donors following Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement in June.