Adding abortion rights, marriage equality, voting rights, environmental protection and so much more of the court's agenda to state races will only turbocharge Democratic enthusiasm, Pearson claims. With only 99 senators now voting, the nominee can be approved by a 50-49 margin. Kennedy was the deciding vote on several cases, but with no moderates in sight after the justice announced his retirement Wednesday, Matz believes his exit "will drastically change the energy of the building".
He also said he would not discuss gay rights with the candidates, and that he might interview as many as seven people. Even though Republican leader McConnell changed Senate rules past year to allow confirmation by simple majority, if Democrats hold together he can not afford defections. Reproductive rights experts say numerous recent state laws are so extreme that they could set up a showdown over Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.
Kennedy was not always aligned with liberal judges on reproductive rights and abortion; he voted to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007.
It's no secret in Washington, D.C., who the critical senators will be in the months ahead.
Trump swiftly invited all five to the White House to meet Thursday evening, the day after Kennedy's stunning announcement.
Few senators are as familiar with - and as cool at handling - the hot seat than Sens.
"Listen, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins can handle pressure", said Marco Rubio of Florida.
Republicans changed Senate rules a year ago to get Trump's conservative nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed, lowering the threshold to advance Supreme Court nominations to a simple majority vote. While he may not ask about the case specifically, he is promising to seek out nominees that share his ideology. In the meantime, advocacy groups are wasting no time jumping into the emerging campaign for Kennedy's replacement, who could tip the court's balance toward conservatives for years to come. "And that will happen automatically in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court". She has also been a reliable defender of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides health care services to thousands of Alaskans.
There are already two cases before appellate courts, one level down from the supreme court, that could give the country's highest court an opportunity to limit abortion access as soon as June 2019. Jessica Post, who runs the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which focuses on state legislatures, reports the same.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy speaks during a swearing in ceremony for Judge Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice of the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, U.S., April 10, 2017. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Sen.
Despite Trump's struggles with Christian values in his personal life at times, skeptical evangelical Christians lined up behind him in the 2016 election, and they remain one of his most loyal constituencies. Unless the GOP trips itself up, it can cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court before the November election.
"I've got it narrowed to about five", the president said of his list of candidates, adding that two of the possibilities were women. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, was at the White House Thursday night for a meeting with Trump. "When people start taking notice that a woman's right to choose could be in peril, these numbers will look a bit different". "I stressed the importance of nominating someone to the Supreme Court who is pragmatic, fair, compassionate, committed to justice, and above politics".