Published: Thu, June 28, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Justice Kennedy announces retirement, now what?

Justice Kennedy announces retirement, now what?

Kennedy's departure from that influential role means a second Trump appointment - expected to be more consistently conservative than Kennedy - would shift the Supreme Court further to the political right and solidify that conservative tilt for years.

He voted conservative on issues of campaign finance, voting rights and gun rights.

Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, was seen by some legal experts on Wednesday as the front-runner on President Trump's list of contenders to fill the vacancy left by Kennedy's retirement.

A confirmation hearing usually happens about two months after a nomination is announced.

In 2017, Trump nominated and won confirmation of former Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, a conservative jurist who replaced Scalia and played a key role in several important decisions this term, including those upholding Trump's travel ban on immigrants from several countries, most of which are majority Muslim, on national security grounds, and finding that public employees can not be forced to pay agency dues to unions they do not belong to but bargain collectively on their behalf.

Trump's selection of Justice Neil Gorsuch, a former law clerk for Kennedy who took over the seat occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, has already had an effect on USA policy.

Leonard Leo, an outside advisor to Trump on judicial nominations who is on leave from his post at the Federalist Society, said Trump's list of potential nominees for this vacancy includes numerous very best judges in America.

"I never thought I'd say this, but, you're only 81!"

Top Democrat Chuck Schumer said in a televised speech on the floor of the Senate that Mr Kennedy's replacement would be a decision affecting "generations" and therefore the confirmation vote should not take place until after the mid-terms.

The court legalized abortion with its decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973. "And hopefully we're going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding".

The sharply divided high court has already handed Trump a series of other wins in politically charged cases in recent weeks.

The confirmation machinery would gear up quickly. "A high-profile Supreme Court battle will certainly remind all your voters what is at stake". "No question about it", McConnell said.

But picking an ultra-conservative as his nominee would carry risk because Trump would have to rely on some moderate Republicans to win approval in the U.S. Senate, where his fellow Republicans have a narrow majority.

"There used not to be filibusters of judges until the George W. Bush presidency, and now all the filibuster activity and precedents have been overruled, so we are looking at 51 to confirm or 50 plus the vice president", Cornyn said.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal told reporters that members of his party will have a voice and a vote.

"It is imperative that the President's nominee be considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks", Mr. McConnell said. "The most important thing we can do". "And the consequences for our nation couldn't be higher".

Barbara Perry, a presidential scholar at the University of Virginia, said same-sex marriage is unlikely to be overturned, because public support has expanded to the point that no state would attempt to challenge it.

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