With Kennedy's retirement, the Supreme Court loses its center

Anti-abortion advocates rally outside of the Supreme Court during the March for Life

Anti-abortion advocates rally outside of the Supreme Court during the March for Life

President Donald Trump plans to announce his pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9.

Before saying I am too idealistic, remember there was a time not too long ago when Supreme Court nomineeswere largely confirmed eitherin an nearly unanimous roll call or even by voice vote.

Kennedy, 81, the court's now longest-serving member and second-oldest justice, announced on Wednesday that he is retiring, effective on July 31. But Trump could move to appoint a much more reliable conservative.

Trump said he not will push the candidates to say whether they would overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman's right to abortion. "As you know, there are many presidents who never get a choice", Trump said. But other factors will also be in play as the candidates are vetted: their ideological bent, their ability to win confirmation and even whether, according to a key adviser, they are "not weak".

Pro-choice demonstrators wave signs in front of the US Supreme Court 30 November 2005, in Washington, DC. "As I said, I'm looking specifically at two women". Asked if he planned to question potential court nominees their views on abortion rights and Roe v. Wade, he responded, "That's not a question I'll be asking". Asked about Barrett, he said, "She's an outstanding woman". Mike Lee (R-Utah).

"Kennedy is at or near the top on nearly all measures of power or influence", said Lee Epstein, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. "As long as I can do the job full steam, I will be here", she said in January. "Usually they don't say that". Gorsuch cleared the Senate - only after McConnell pushed through a rules change to end the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees and lower the threshold for confirmation from 60 to a simple majority - with 54 votes. But Republican Senator John McCain, who has an aggressive form of brain cancer, has been absent from the Senate for months, meaning that if all Senate Democrats vote against Trump's eventual nominee, it would take only one Republican defection to defeat his pick.

Trump met on Thursday with senators from both parties at the White House to discuss the court vacancy created by the retirement of Kennedy, which was announced on Wednesday.

The Federalist Society is a nationwide organization of conservative lawyers who espouse conservative judicial philosophies. "Judges, and particularly the Supreme Court, have been a resounding success of this administration".

Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund, a campaign group aligned with McConnell, said the group is running digital ads in 10 states that Trump won in 2016 where Democratic senators are now up for re-election.

"Because Kennedy drifted right this term, he and Roberts shared the median spot", Epstein said.

"From day one, I've heard, outside of war and peace of course, the most important decision you make is the selection of a Supreme Court judge - if you get it".

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