US Supreme Court Justice Kennedy to retire

US Supreme Court judge to retire

US Supreme Court judge to retire

Without Kennedy, she said, the court would have overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case establishing a woman's right to abortion.

In his letter to Mr Trump, Justice Kennedy expressed "profound gratitude" for having served in the highest court.

Justice William Brennan, a Republican nominee whom President Dwight Eisenhower reportedly considered one of his two biggest mistakes (the other was Chief Justice Earl Warren), once said that the most important word in the court's lexicon is - no, not "justice" or "freedom" or "equality" - "five".

Kennedy informed his colleagues of his plans, then went to the White House to meet with Trump, where the president said they talked for half an hour about a potential successor and other topics. Barring some unforeseen miss in the background check, the nominee will be confirmed, and probably with votes to spare given how many Senate Democrats are facing stiff reelection in states carried by President Trump.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durban asked McConnell to delay the confirmation vote to "give the American people their say in the upcoming election before court vacancies are filled".

"That's not a question I'll be asking", he said. But it wasn't enough, she said. All were appointed by Democratic presidents.

"It's a great group of intellectual talent", Trump said.

It's widely expected the next appointee could shift the current balance of Supreme Court to a more conservative-learning bench. When McConnell adopted "the Reid Rule" previous year for Supreme Court nominees to break Democrats' filibuster against the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, he was merely allowing the majority of the Senate to advise and consent.

The 5-4 ruling, with the conservative justices in the majority and the liberal justices dissenting, ended a fierce fight in the courts over whether the policy amounted to an unlawful Muslim ban, while confirming broad presidential powers over immigration and national security policy.

Kennedy has always been a key swing vote, so Trump's selection could tilt the court in a more conservative direction for years to come. If the Senate divides 50-50, Vice President Mike Pence could break a tie to confirm the nominee. At the time, GOP leaders said the new president should get to pick the new justice. Trump called Kennedy a man "of tremendous vision" and said he hopes the next justice will be "just as outstanding".

"The Supreme Court's decision ignored the fact that this president and candidate has targeted a particular faith community which is Muslims here and overseas", he added.

Heitkamp broadly supports abortion rights, but North Dakota is one of the most restrictive states in the nation when it comes to abortion access. The Senate is a majoritarian body now on all nominations and will likely stay that way. "But we also praise Justice Kennedy's insight and forceful celebration of First Amendment freedoms, his sensitivity to the danger of authoritarian government, and his refreshing desire to preserve and teach the necessity of freedom of speech to future generations".

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