"This is the most important Supreme Court vacancy for this country in at least a generation", Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), McConnell's top deputy. PredictIt gave Hardiman a 16 percent chance of being appointed.
In a letter to Trump, Justice Kennedy wrote, "My dear Mr. President, for a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honours to serve on this court".
It's hard to overstate how seismic a shift Kennedy's retirement could be for the court and for American society as a whole. The argument they and moderate Republicans will wrestle with is whether the court's current "balance" should be preserved.
He added: "I look forward to having the nominee before us in the Senate Judiciary Committee for his or her hearing in the weeks ahead". It was from a similar list that Trump selected Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia.
Sarah Field, the network's vice president of judicial strategy, said the Koch groups are prepared to run ads and send activists door-to-door. It is arguable, indeed plausible, that Trump would not have won if Scalia had not died.
"I felt, personally, very invested in this issue", McConnell recalled in an interview with The Washington Post past year.
President Reagan nominated Kennedy to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 following a stint on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Missouri Democrat said Wednesday that she will wait to discuss the criteria she'll use to vet Kennedy's replacement until after Trump makes a nomination. "Those are exactly the same criteria that I will apply to whomever the president nominates".
The Democratic leadership team all seemed in sync. Sen. Three of them - Donnelly, Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) - voted to confirm Gorsuch; Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) voted nay.
Moments after the Supreme Court issued Kennedy's retirement announcement, Judge Andrew Napolitano said, "The key issue will be abortion".
"The significance of today's news can not be overstated: The right to access abortion in this country is on the line", Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement to Business Insider.
McConnell could well need to find crossover votes. The GOP holds a slim 51-49 majority, and Sen.
Trump's July 9 time frame could prove optimistic. If he had waited, and if Democrats had taken control of the Senate in November, Trump could have found it more hard to get his choice confirmed.
Other Democrats are urging McConnell to wait until after the midterm elections this fall.
McConnell dismissed that notion.
He is a Georgetown University Law Center alumnus and is also reportedly the favorite of Trump's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, with whom he serves on the US Court of Appeals.
McConnell's inability past year to fulfill a longtime Republican promise of undoing Obama's signature health-care law strained his relationship with Trump and turned him into a momentary villain in his own party. That simple-majority rule remains in place for subsequent nominees.