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Published: Sun, July 01, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Kennedy retirement kicks speculation over Supreme Court replacement into high gear

Kennedy retirement kicks speculation over Supreme Court replacement into high gear

Esseks said he is hopeful the new justice will embrace recent legal victories in gay rights battles and urged senators to press the nominee on the issue during the confirmation process after Trump announces his pick. He cited McConnell's refusal to allow a Senate vote on former President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016.

"Justice Kennedy's retirement presents an opportunity for the President to appoint and the Senate to confirm a principled constitutionalist who will defend the Bill of Rights, defend the fundamental liberties of Americans, and I am hopeful that is exactly that will happen", he said. He said the voices of millions of Americans heading to the polls this fall "deserve to be heard". The moderate justice often sided with the court's liberal bloc, however, and wrote the majority opinion in favor of marriage equality in 2015.

Kennedy will step down officially at the end of next month, on July 31.

"You want to go as quickly as possible", Trump replied.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Wednesday that the same 25 names that were on the list when he chose Neil Gorsuch are up for consideration as Kennedy's replacement.

Barring surprises in upcoming months, the only scenario that could make the situation more favorable toward Republicans on abortion rights - and worse for Democrats - would be if another unexpected vacancy on the court opens up during Trump's tenure.

And now, as the focus shifts toward the president's next Supreme Court nomination, evangelical leaders who once held their noses and voted for Trump have little doubt he will pick someone who shares their conservative views on abortion, same-sex marriage and other social issues.

Tony Perkins, who leads the socially conservative Family Research Council, said abortion was simply "a factor" in evangelicals' excitement over a more conservative Supreme Court. Sotomayor said simply, "I dissent".

De Sousa said he understood the significance because of his background as a constitutional lawyer.

Republicans changed Senate rules a year ago to get Trump's conservative nominee, Neil Gorsuch, confirmed, lowering the threshold to advance Supreme Court nominations to a simple majority vote.

Says the Kentucky Republican, "It's imperative that the president's nominee be considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks".

Trump has indicated that he will likely choose a nominee from an existing list of candidates that he compiled before nominating Gorsuch.

"With so much at stake for the people of our country, the U.S. Senate must be consistent and consider the president's nominee once the new Congress is seated in January", Durbin said.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said Trump had already begun the selection process, adding that it is "something that the president takes very seriously".

Since the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor 2006, Kennedy has served as the court's resident swing vote, siding with both the court's liberals and conservative's depending on the issue.

"He is a man who has displayed tremendous vision and tremendous heart and he will be missed", Trump said.

Trump is nearly certain to pick a more conservative justice than Kennedy. So GOP leaders will be looking for a nominee who can deliver on the conservative agenda and remind voters - even those exhausted by Trump's tweeting - why elections matter.

"I deeply appreciate Justice Kennedy's long service to our nation as a member of the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary", Sen. The conservative appointee has been known as the potential swing vote of the bench, providing the deciding vote on legal challenges on abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.

Chief Justice John Roberts said Tuesday the Supreme Court "may look behind the face of the proclamation" barring travelers from five countries with overwhelmingly Muslim populations, though he adopted a relatively easy standard for the administration to justify its travel policy.

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