Justice Kennedy retiring; Trump gets 2nd Supreme Court pick

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McConnell argued that in an election year the voters picking the next president should have a say in nominating the next Supreme Court justice, and essentially ran out the clock until Trump became president and nominated Gorsuch. Picture taken on June 23, 2018.

Of course, there are the many areas where Kennedy was the fifth vote for a conservative result: in striking down campaign finance laws, in declaring a law violates the Second Amendment and in many cases this term. If Trump is able to successfully confirm a conservative judge, it appears as if the court will shift against the liberal wing.

"It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those on the Supreme Court", Kennedy was quoted as saying in a statement announcing his decision. Nelson was thought to be anxious about drawing a primary challenge from the left if he voted for Gorsuch, and McCaskill reportedly agonized over her decision before casting a vote against Gorsuch.

The high stakes of nominations to the high court aside, politicians also want to get re-elected, which is why moderate Democrats have so far remained noncommittal on a future nominee.

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Cruz supports the the only non-judge on Trump's list, Utah Sen.

Last year, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, through a series of parliamentary maneuvers known as the "nuclear option", eliminated the 60-vote majority to end debate, changing it to a simple majority.

After that, he added more names, including that of former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young, who considered a run for U.S. Senate this year and has since been brought in by Michigan State University to help it respond to multiple investigations connected to the Larry Nassar scandal. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice William Rehnquist voted against Lawrence, and to the extent that Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch and Roberts seem to be more in the mold of these justices than of Kennedy and O'Connor, it is not hard to imagine a substantial revision in the court's gay-rights jurisprudence.

Although Lee, a Utah Republican, has never served as a judge, judicial conservatives feel confident that he would not surprise them on the Supreme Court. If past practice is any indication, Trump will name a nominee within weeks, setting in motion a process that could allow confirmation of a new justice by early August.

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"Now Trump will likely replace him with a Justice who would discriminate and dismantle abortion rights and LGBTQ rights", Noah explained to his audience. "The seat should not be filled with someone who threatens or undermines voting rights, individual freedoms, or the balance of powers enshrined in our founding documents".

People protesting against the Muslim travel ban outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

"It truly saddens me that this court doesn't check this president's worst impulses", said Karol Brown, a Bellevue-based immigration attorney. "And he certainly has understanding and experience around the Supreme Court".

Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, said in a statement she was "deeply disappointed" in the ruling.

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