Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has said he plans to retire after three decades as a pivotal vote on the highest USA judicial body, giving President Donald Trump an opportunity to make the court more firmly conservative. Trump said his search for a Supreme Court nominee will "begin immediately" and he intends to make his selection from a list of more than 20 reliably conservative candidates the White House released a year ago.
In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court bench handed over President Trump one of his biggest victories since taking charge of the White House in January previous year, by upholding his executive order that sought ban on travelling from five Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
The Supreme Court is an institution that shapes America.
"I believe if Justice Scalia had not passed away when he did that there's a very good possibility Hillary Clinton would be President of the United States right now", Cruz said. Heidi Heitkamp in November's midterm elections. "Most of us don't want to be governed by five unelected lawyers in Washington".
In a statement, ICNA Council for Social Justice, an Islamic social justice and human rights organization, said that it was not the first time that the court had allowed official racism and xenophobia to continue rather than standing up to it.
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Here are the hurdles any nominee would have to clear to be confirmed.
Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reacts to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement announcement.
Sen. John Cornyn, Texas' senior senator and the No. 2 Senate Republican, argued Thursday that Democrats themselves had set the precedent for avoiding a confirmation during a presidential election year.
The other two older justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, and Stephen Breyer, 79, are Democratic appointees who would not appear to be going anywhere during a Trump administration if they can help it. Still, in 2016, voters were deciding on an open Supreme Court seat and not just the prospect of further vacancies.
The thing lawmakers from both sides agreed on Wednesday is that the stakes are incredibly high.