November 13, 2018

Senators Who Will Likely Decide The Next Supreme Court Justice

01 July 2018, 04:43 | Ross Houston

CaptionSourceGlenn Harvey for OZY

What Justice Kennedy’s Departure Could Mean for the Supreme Court

It's only Wednesday, but the US Supreme Court's already eventful week has reached a dramatic turning point: Justice Anthony Kennedy, arguably the last bipartisan justice on the bench, announced his resignation. Most recently, he voted with the court's liberals to block states from imposing onerous and unnecessary regulations on abortion clinics which seemed geared at shutting those clinics down.

Kennedy turns 82 in July and was the oldest justice behind 85-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In that 5-3 decision - delivered by a shorthanded court just months after Scalia's death in 2016 - justices in the majority relied on the undue burden test to strike down a Texas law limiting abortion availability.

It's hard to overstate how seismic a shift Kennedy's retirement could be for the court and for American society as a whole.

In this case, probably nothing. "With a more reliable conservative, and Roberts having dug his own hole after basing the constitutionality of the ACA on the mandate being a tax - and the tax now having been repealed, that leaves the door open to a different decision in the Supreme Court".

Would a justice be in place by October 1?

Democrats were enraged, but with Republicans controlling both the Senate and the House, they have limited leverage to push back over Trump's second pick for the court, the final arbiter on such divisive issues as gun rights or abortion.

RAYMOND KETHLEDGE of Michigan, US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit: Kethledge is also a former Kennedy clerk and was among those under consideration by Trump a year ago. From Wednesday, 65 days would be August 31. The argument they and moderate Republicans will wrestle with is whether the court's current "balance" should be preserved. The University of MI graduate was originally nominated to his current job by Bush in 2006, but due to opposition from Michigan's two Democratic senators, he was not confirmed until a compromise deal was reached two years later.

There are now 47 Democratic senators (plus two independents who generally vote with them). The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing, he said, followed by a vote on whether to recommend that the nominee be confirmed by the full Senate.

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Since then, we have had another year to observe the Trump administration's downward spiral into cruelty and incoherence, an approach to governing that has not spared the judicial branch.

Of course, they would probably need even more than that, as there were three Democrats who broke rank and voted for Gorsuch past year.

So there's not really anything the Democrats can do?

Although Republicans are in the majority, Trump's nominee is not assured of confirmation.

"Speaker McCarthy just became a lot more likely", Eberhart told USA TODAY, referring to California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who could assume the No. 1 position in the House if Republicans prevail in November's election.

RAYMOND GRUENDER of Missouri, US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit: Gruender has been on Trump's short list since before the 2016 election.

Among other judges on the US President's nominee list are - Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, who serves on the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, Raymond Kethledge of MI, who serves on the 6th Circuit and newly confirmed federal appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett of IN and Amul Thapar of Kentucky, as per the report.

Also of interest are Thapar, who serves on the federal appeals court in Cincinnati, lives in Kentucky and is close to McConnell; Kavanaugh, a former clerk for Kennedy who serves on the federal appeals court in Washington, DC; and Coney Barrett, who serves on the federal appeals court in Chicago.

Leonard Leo, who is taking a leave of absence as executive vice president of the Federalist Society to serve as an outside adviser in the selection process, said Trump "wants to move swiftly and I think that probably means in the next two or three weeks".

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