On Wednesday Kennedy, 81, confirmed longstanding speculation that his current term on the bench would be he last.
Kennedy's resignation opens a second seat for President Donald Trump to fill.
It's nearly impossible to calculate the impact Kennedy's retirement will have on the court and the country. Ronald Reagan on state tax legislation. Previously, Thapar served on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. John Boozman, R-Ark. "I thank him for his service to our nation and his commitment to upholding the rule of law throughout his tenure on the highest court in the land".
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who voted against the ruling, said the decision was motivated by "anti-Muslim animus", adding that the verdict fails to address the pain and suffering of countless families and individuals living in the US.
The shocking death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016 thrust the idea of court vacancies right into the middle of the Republican primary fight.
In a statement issued after the verdict, President Trump declared the Supreme Court judgement a "profound vindication" and said he would continue to defend the "sovereignty, safety and security of the American people and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interest of the United States and its citizens".
Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, was perhaps his best known opinion, and he joined the liberals in previous key decisions that advanced LGBT equality. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then it's only matter of time that a large swath of states ban the practice. "Let the American people have a say when women's health and equal rights are on the line", Massachusetts Sen.
"If he were to follow the model of Justice Gorsuch that is a consistent ideological conservative judge who comes across as a steady decision maker and who has little in his past that creates red flags, that provides the safest path towards relatively swift nomination, even with Democrats claiming that the Senate should wait until after the election", Barth noted. "I think you want to go as quickly as possible".
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Social media outbursts after Kennedy's announcement Wednesday suggested that this fight will be every bit as brutal as was the confirmation of Gorsuch a year ago by a vote of 54-45. "Can he get it right twice in a row?"
Esseks said he is hopeful the new justice will embrace recent legal victories in gay rights battles and urged senators to press the nominee on the issue during the confirmation process after Trump announces his pick.
"Well, we are four months out from an election that determines control of the Senate".
Barth said Arkansas' two Senators will have little to say in the matter until a nominee is brought to the full Senate.
It's highly unlikely, however, that argument will convince any Republicans.
Voting rights advocates' hopes that they could, in the near-future, secure a fifth vote to rein in extreme partisan gerrymandering died on Wednesday with Kennedy's retirement announcement. With the exceptions of Amy Coney Barrett and Amul Thapar, all are George W. Bush appointees. The list was put together to fill the seat now held by Justice Neil Gorsuch. So is Raymond Kethledge, who sits on the Sixth Circuit appeals court and also clerked for Kennedy. "We shouldn't vote on confirmation until they have voted at the ballot box".
Among those widely considered to be leading candidates is Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. Circuit. Many point to his roots in California, where he developed a friendship or mentorship with Gordon Schaber, who was once the dean of Sacramento's McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. He is a protege of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
"If we lose the Senate, we will lose the opportunity to approve the nominations of strong Constitutionalists to the Supreme Court and other important positions", Cruz wrote.