With Kennedy's retirement, the Supreme Court loses its center

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2015

Trump said Friday that his Supreme Court selection process would begin in earnest on Monday and that he would interview "six or seven" candidates in total.

"I think sometimes we talk about Supreme Court too much in abstractions, about dignity and who is qualified and who is not". Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, citing the coming presidential election later that year.

"I may have two of them come up, like the old days, to Bedminster", Trump said, referring to the staff and Cabinet interviews he held there in late 2016 during the presidential transition.

Divisive Supreme Court decisions are more likely to be re-examined - and possibly overturned - when a court changes. Trump passed over Hardiman in favor of Neil Gorsuch, who has proven to be reliably conservative in his tenure so far and has been a key vote in numerous controversial 5-4 decisions, including the decision to uphold the president's travel ban.

"He's an outstanding talent", Trump said of Lee.

Henne, however, said Democratic anger would only intensify during and after the nomination battle, which is likely to consume Washington for months and thrust the court's ideological makeup into the forefront of voters' minds.




Like-minded advocacy groups are expected to mount efforts to assure the nominee is confirmed, and the Judicial Crisis Network has said it will spend at least a million dollars in the effort. Trump asked Manchin, the senator recalled. It doesn't matter if he asks them about their opinions on abortion rights because by the time a candidate interviews with him, they would have already been asked in the earlier vetting process.

The other senator who met with Trump, Republican Charles Grassley, is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which will consider any Trump choice.

"Political speeches are just that, but the next day, I'm ready to get to work", Heitkamp said in a statement following a private meeting with the president.

If Trump is able to appoint a crucial fifth anti-woman justice to the Supreme Court, the fate of safe abortions for millions of women across the country will be jeopardized.

Trump's allies have made clear he wants another justice in the Gorsuch mold. "I stressed the importance of nominating someone to the Supreme Court who is pragmatic, fair, compassionate, committed to justice, and above politics".

Like Collins and Murkowski, these Democrats are unlikely to reveal how they will vote until the nomination comes to the Senate floor.

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