The Latest: Civil rights groups want court vote postponed
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement (all times local):
Various civil rights groups are backing calls from Democratic lawmakers to hold off on a vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement until after the November elections.
Vanita Gupta, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, says senators need to put country over party and use every tool to stop what she calls President Donald Trump’s plan “to take over the Supreme Court for the next 40 years.”
Despite the Republican majority, Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund says she’s confident senators can be persuaded to hold off.
In 2016, Senate Republicans refused to consider then-President Barack Obama’s court nominee, Merrick Garland, during the election year, leaving the seat vacant for Trump’s nominee of Neil Gorsuch in 2017.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says it would be the “height of hypocrisy” for the Senate to vote on a new Supreme Court justice before the November midterm elections.
Schumer noted that Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider then-President Barack Obama’s court nominee, Merrick Garland, during the election year, leaving the seat vacant for President Donald Trump’s nominee of Neil Gorsuch in 2017.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had blocked Garland’s nomination on grounds 2016 was a presidential election year, and the new president should have the opportunity to pick a justice.
Schumer said Wednesday the opening on the court from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement is “the most important Supreme Court” vacancy in at least a generation. He said the voices of millions of Americans heading to the polls this fall “deserve to be heard.” The court’s make up will determine important issues, including reproductive rights.
President Donald Trump is deflecting a question on whether he should wait until after the midterm elections to announce a successor to retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Trump says in the Oval Office that he hasn’t “really thought about that. I think you want to go as quickly as possible.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Barack Obama from filling the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s 2016 death.
McConnell refused to act on Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, and the seat was left open until after the 2016 presidential election, allowing Trump to nominate Justice Neil Gorsuch.
President Donald Trump took a moment to explain the significance of a Supreme Court vacancy Wednesday to Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Trump began a meeting with de Sousa in the Oval Office reacting to the breaking news that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was retiring, giving Trump a golden chance to cement conservative control of the high court.
Trump stopped at one point to explain to de Sousa that, “In our country, the election of a justice of the United States Supreme Court is considered, I think we can all say, one of the most important events.”
He added that, “Some people think outside of obviously war and peace it’s the most important thing that you can have.”
De Sousa said he understood the significance because of his background as a constitutional lawyer.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says his chamber will vote this fall on President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement Wednesday.
Says the Kentucky Republican, “It’s imperative that the president’s nominee be considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks.”
McConnell added that he looks forward to another “outstanding selection” from Trump.
Kennedy has long been a key swing vote, so Trump’s selection could tilt the court in a more conservative direction for years to come.
The Senate confirmed Trump’s first selection to the high court, Neil Gorsuch, in April 2017.
President Donald Trump says he met with Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy at the White House on Wednesday shortly before the announcement of the justice’s retirement.
Trump says he discussed with Kennedy some potential replacements but declined to say which names were mentioned. The president says in the Oval Office that he will choose Kennedy’s successor from a list of 25 names that have been under consideration.
The president says Kennedy was at the White House for about 30 minutes.
President Donald Trump says the search for a new Supreme Court justice will begin “immediately.”
Trump spoke Wednesday shortly after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. Trump called Kennedy a man “of tremendous vision” and said he hopes the next justice will be “just as outstanding.”
Kennedy’s retirement gives Trump the chance to cement conservative control of the high court. Trump said his choice will come from a list of possible nominees that he put out during his campaign and updated last fall.
The 81-year-old Kennedy said in a statement he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.
A top official with the Federalist Society is praising retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy as a “dedicated public servant.”
Leonard Leo is taking a leave from the society to advise President Donald Trump on the nomination process to replace Kennedy. He has advised Trump in the past on judicial picks.
In a statement, Leo says that Kennedy “has cared deeply about the relationship between the Constitution and individual liberty, and played a key role in helping to shape the Supreme Court’s conservative jurisprudence in the areas of campaign finance and the First Amendment, gun rights and the Second Amendment, the separation of powers and federalism, and reasonable restrictions on abortion, such as the partial-birth abortion ban.”
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy says he is retiring. That will give President Donald Trump the chance to cement conservative control of the high court.
The 81-year-old Kennedy said Wednesday he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.