President met with Justice Kennedy, discussed replacement

San Diego. Kennedy's appearance at the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference comes shortly after the nation's highest court put

Denis Poroy FR59680 AP

Schumer noted that Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider then-President Barack Obama's court nominee, Merrick Garland, during the election year, leaving the seat vacant for President Donald Trump's nominee of Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

Shortly after Kennedy announced he would retire from the Supreme Court this summer, Sen. "For the past three decades or so, Justice Kennedy has been at the center of every major legal dispute to come to the court, and now that's no longer the case".

A news release from the Supreme Court said Kennedy wishes to spend more time with his family, though they were willing for him to continue serving.

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.

The search, the president said, will begin immediately, and Kennedy's replacement will be chosen from the list of 25 candidates he considered previous year, when he ultimately chose Gorsuch.

By picking a social conservative to replace Kennedy, Trump would have a reliable 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, even on some of those hot-button social issues. State legislators have taken different approaches over the years, from limiting the circumstances in which women can have abortions, to limiting how abortions may be performed, to piling on hurdles that women must go through. The judge's retirement gives Mr Trump his second Supreme Court pick since he became president, and he has said he will choose from a list of 25 conservative candidates. "Think about it. The court that just this week crippled unions, upheld Trump's Muslim ban, and race-based gerrymandering, might turn conservative!" Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a nationwide abortion provider, said it was bracing for Trump to appoint a justice to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Contentious confirmation hearings in the Senate delayed his confirmation until 2006.

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Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, said legislators would confirm Mr. Trump's court pick this fall, before the Democrats get a chance to take control of the Senate in midterm elections. Although conservative, he sometimes joined the liberal wing of the court and authored landmark opinions on cases dealing with abortion, campaign finance and LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage.

Republicans now hold a bare 51-49 majority in the Senate, although that includes the ailing Sen.

Kennedy was nominated in 1987 by President Reagan to the court, after Robert Bork's nomination failed and Douglas Ginsburg was pressured to withdraw after questions were raised about his admission he had smoked marijuana several times.

He called Kennedy a "spectacular man" with "tremendous heart" and said he hoped to pick somebody who will be as "outstanding" as Kennedy has been.

"Justice Kennedy has been a tireless voice for individual rights and the founders' enduring vision of limited government".

Justice Kennedy also favoured limits on the death penalty, writing the court's opinion in the 2005 Roper v. Simmons case, a five-four decision that barred executions for crimes committed by people under the age of 18.

"His words have left an indelible mark not only on this generation, but on the fabric of American history".

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