President Donald Trump made waves when he selected Justice Neil Gorsuch to sit on the nation’s highest court — it ended up being one of his many great accomplishments early in his Presidency.
Just imagine the excitement this morning when it was revealed that a SCOTUS judge is set to retire — Trump has the ability to shape the Supreme Court in a way that could change everything… for the better.
Justice Associate Anthony Kennedy will retire from the U.S. Supreme Court effective July 31.
The 81-year-old’s retirement presents President Donald Trump with his second opportunity to appoint conservative Supreme Court Justice, following the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Leonard Leo, Federalist Society official and an outside adviser to President Trump on judicial nominations, thanked Kennedy and expressed optimism about his replacement. “I expect the nominee to be like Justice Gorsuch, to demonstrate excellence in every respect, and to earn widespread support from the American people, and bipartisan support for confirmation,” Leo said in an announcement following the announcement.
— Kimberly Robinson (@KimberlyRobinsn) June 27, 2018
President Trump already has a list of 25 candidates — 24 judges and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) — from which the White House has previously said he would choose a nominee.
Prominent on that list are Judges Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania and William Pryor of Alabama, seriously considered for the seat eventually filled by Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who serves on the federal appeals court in Washington, DC.
Kavanaugh is a longtime Washington insider, having served as a law clerk to Kennedy and then as a key member of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s team that produced the report that served as the basis for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. In October, Kavanaugh dissented when his court ruled that an undocumented teen in federal custody should be able to obtain an abortion immediately.
Abortion is likely to be one of the flash points in the nomination fight. Kennedy has mainly supported abortion rights in his time on the court, and Trump has made clear he would try to choose justices who want to overturn the landmark abortion rights case of Roe v. Wade. Such a dramatic step may not be immediately likely, but a more conservative court might be more willing to sustain abortion restrictions.
Interest groups across the political spectrum are expected to mobilize to support and fight the nomination because it is so likely to push the court to the right.