US Supreme Court judge to retire

Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy was appointed in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan

Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy was appointed in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan

But he said the vacancy - and the pitched battle to replace Kennedy - could galvanize conservative voters and help the party retain its threatened House majority.

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.

His departure will leave four justices appointed by Democrat presidents and four by Republicans.

The left, clearly hoping for some sort of an upset in the Senate races in the fall, wants to invoke the McConnell precedent to try to generate public opposition to moving forward with a nominee to fill Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's seat this summer and early fall.

Kennedy wrote a letter to President Donald Trump to inform him of the decision, CNN reported. That sorry distinction goes to Indiana's Joe Donnelly and four other Democratic senators running for re-election in red states Trump carried in 2016.

In the run-up to selecting Gorsuch, Trump met with three contenders and White House officials vetted several more. It is unlikely for the president to pick another moderate justice instead of a conservative one, local analysts say. The FBI is still conducting background checks, the person said.

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would be retiring from the Supreme Court shortly after the final announcement of the session Wednesday. "At a minimum, we have to make sure that we vet people coming into the country", the Republican president said, referring in a statement to "this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians".

McConnell added that he looks forward to another "outstanding selection" from Trump.

The conservative has been a pivotal vote on many decisions including the 5-4 rulings that decided same-sex marriage and upheld abortion rights.

The Supreme Court job is for life.

He will turn 82 next month and the other justices around his age are part of the court's liberal wing.

Should Trump announce his pick as advertised on July 9, it would mark just 13 days since Kennedy's announcement. At that moment, the politics of judicial confirmations entered their end stage: The Senate's majority now rules on when and who will get confirmed to the federal courts. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.

Larsen, who serves as a Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, is a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.

Millions of Americans, particularly conservatives, factor this power to nominate justices into their choice of presidential candidates.

"You are going to see 20 states pass laws banning abortion outright".

But McConnell has insisted Kennedy's successor would be confirmed in the fall and demanded the "president's nominee be considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks".

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