President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he plans to “begin immediately” with the selection of a new Supreme Court Justice to replace Anthony Kennedy, who plans to retire on July 31.
Trump says there are currently 25 candidates in consideration for the soon to be vacant bench seat. The list features left over names that were being considered when Justice Neil Gorsuch was assigned to the Supreme Court. “It will be somebody from that list,” Trump said.
Leading the pack according to USA Today are:
Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Also potential replacements: Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, and Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, who serves on the 6th Circuit.
Kennedy’s announced retirement was made after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to overturn certain rules for union fees in the JANUS v. AFSCME. That can could force some unions to fall into insolvency.
With Gorusch leaning conservative and Trump able to choose the next Supreme Court Justice, the tilt of power will likely remain squarely in the hands of GOP-focused initiatives.
Kenny, throughout his career, did manage to provide a voice of reason during many crucial cases, providing a swing vote on tough issues such as affirmative action and abortion.
The Supreme Court Justice was also an advocate for gay rights and served up a healthy liberal view on capital punishment. Kennedy has often been seen as a voice of reason, something Trump hopes to squash with a candidate who leans heavily Republican in their views of social justice.
With the November 2018 elections right around the corner, Trump will attempt to fill the vacant position ahead of a possible House and Senate takeover by the Democrats. As it stands, the Republicans have a 51-seat majority at this time, allowing them to choose a justice after they abolished the 60-vote rule in April.
It was Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell who pushed through legislation that allowed the Republican party to take control of nominations.