Kennedy's retirement 'will drastically change the energy' of Supreme Court: Clerk

Pablo Tucker
July 3, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he plans to announce his nominee to replace retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9, and that he has narrowed his list of candidates. Choosing his successor, which needs Senate approval, gives Trump the chance to mold the dominant ideology on the Supreme Court for years to come.

He said Kennedy understood his role as a swing vote: "The justice knew that on many controversial issues he could tip the court and I think he appreciated that, and sought to create balance in the Constitution and in the constitutional law that the court issued".

Later, Mr. Melendez said that he received a call from Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, arranging a callback time for him and the president and asking what topic he would like to raise with Mr. Trump.

"Outside of war and peace, of course, the most important decision you make is the selection of a Supreme Court judge, if you get it", Trump said.

Whatever Trump said during his campaign, Leo said abortion did not come up in the president's interviews with prospective nominees when he chose Justice Neil Gorsuch previous year.

"We're going to have great judges, conservative, all picked by the Federalist Society", Trump said during an interview on Breitbart News radio. The Maine senator said she would only back a judge who would show respect for settled law such as the 45-year-old Roe decision, which has always been an anathema to conservatives. She suggested she would contact Mr. Trump's assistant, but then chose to try to transmit the call "through signal", a reference to the White House Communications Agency, originally known as the White House Signal Corps, which provides emergency mobile communications for the president wherever he goes. "The way he puts it, is someone who is quote, 'not weak, '" Leo said. "And with it, they hold the right to safe and legal abortion", Krasnoff said.

Other prominent names who could be considered include Judges Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump named to the federal appeals court in Chicago; Raymond Kethledge, a former Kennedy law clerk who serves on the appeals court based in Cincinnati; and Amul Thapar, who is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and whom Trump nominated to the Cincinnati-based appeals court.

Trump's allies have made clear he wants another justice in the Gorsuch mold.

A sign that the White House is also focusing on these Democrats: Sen. Two key Republican women, Collins and Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, was at the White House Thursday night for a meeting with Trump.

Matz worked with Kennedy from 2014 to 2015, when the justice issued the crucial fifth vote in the landmark gay marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges. But he told reporters on Friday that he would not question potential high-court nominees about their views on abortion, saying it was "inappropriate to discuss".

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