Sunday shows preview: Supreme Court fight in the spotlight

Greg Lawrence
July 1, 2018

President Donald Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he will announce his candidate to fill Anthony Kennedy's Supreme Court seat on July 9, according to the AP.

Some possible nominees being eyed include Thomas Hardiman, who serves alongside Trump's sister on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Raymond Kethledge, a federal appeals court judge who clerked for Kennedy.

Kennedy, 81, the court's now longest-serving member and second-oldest justice, announced on Wednesday that he is retiring, effective on July 31.

The person Trump picks for the seat is nearly certainly going to be more conservative than Kennedy.

White House Counsel Don McGahn will be Trump's lead adviser on the pick, having successfully guided the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch through the selection and confirmation process previous year, White House sources said.

Left-wing and right-wing groups have sprung into high gear since Kennedy's announcement on Wednesday that he would step down, putting the balance of the court on key issues like abortion and gay rights into question.

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"Kennedy is at or near the top on nearly all measures of power or influence", said Lee Epstein, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis.

"I like them all", he said.

From 1993 to 2005, Kennedy shared the center of the court with O'Connor.

While Kennedy was a conservative, he proved to be a somewhat unpredictable "swing" vote over his long career. The future of Kennedy's seat has been a moment abortion rights opponents and supporters alike have been anticipating for years because Kennedy historically sided with the liberals on the court in favor of protecting abortion rights.

"We have to pick one that's going to be there 40 years, 45 years", Trump said at a rally on Thursday. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump received a prank call Friday from comedian John Melendez, who posed as a New Jersey Sen. "Judges, and particularly the Supreme Court, have been a resounding success of this administration". Since 1937, no chief justice has also been the median justice. "For this reason, the 2017 term provides a good indication of what a post-Kennedy court might look like: many 5-4 decisions with the four Democratic appointees losing in the vast majority". Somebody has the last word and here it is the Supreme Court and Roe V. Wade is doomed.

"It is exciting though, right?" said Trump.

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