Reagan appeared with the lanky, bespectacled Kennedy, 51, in the White House press room on a snowy morning with most of the government shut down by the Veterans Day holiday and the premature wintry weather.
'Judge Kennedy represents the best tradition of American judges,' Reagan said.
Reagan called Kennedy a 'fair but tough judge who respects the law. ... He is a hard worker ... known as a gentleman.'
To prevent another embarrassment like the one surrounding last week's demise of his second nominee, Douglas Ginsburg, who had admitted smoking marijuana, the FBI interviewed Kennedy for about 10 hours in recent days, and chief of staff Howard Baker talked to the FBI Tuesday and again this morning, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said.
He said Reagan will not formally submit the nomination to the Senate until the FBI completes a 'full field check,' which could take several weeks, but he said the administration wants the Judiciary Committee to open hearings before the end of the year.
White House aides tried to talk with Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who had threatened a filibuster against Kennedy as a way of gaining Ginsburg's nomination, but the senator was home sick with the flu.