United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement.
While the retirement of the 81-year-old was expected to come sooner rather than later, President Trump and Congress will now have to open playbook for nominating a new judge to the country’s highest court.
Speaking to a crowd in Fargo, North Dakota, President Trump said he was “honored” by Kennedy’s decision to retire.
“I’m very honored that he chose to do it during my term in office because he felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy,” the president said.
.@POTUS on Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement: “I’m very honored that he chose to do it during my term in office because he felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy.” pic.twitter.com/o8k9Pdxcpi
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) June 28, 2018
During the event, Trump also said he plans on nominating a judge that will protect the Constitution as it is written, a swipe to the judicial activism often found in more liberal judges. The “search for a new justice will begin immediately,” Trump said, as Fox News reports.
Some people are already being floated as potential picks, via the report:
The announcement kick-started rampant speculation about whom Trump will pick for what could be the most consequential appointment of his presidency, giving him the opportunity to move the Supreme Court more solidly to the right.
Sources indicated to Fox News six federal appeals court judges — Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Amul Thapar, Joan Larsen and Raymond Kethledge — are considered early frontrunners, though others could be under consideration too, as Trump said Wednesday he will choose someone from his previously released list of 25 candidates. All six of these judges are on Trump’s list.
Trump himself nominated Thapar, Barrett, and Larsen to their current positions. Hardiman and Thapar were finalists for the seat that went to now-Justice Neil Gorsuch, and were personally interviewed by the president.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2018
The nomination of a Supreme Court Justice was a major issue ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Then, it was already rumored the winner would be able to pick two or more justices. Shortly after his election victory, President Trump tapped Neil Gorsuch to the post.
During Trump’s campaign, he released a list of 25 people he would tap to replace the vacancies. Here’s the list, acquired from ABC News:
Here are the names on that list:
Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Keith Blackwell of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia
Charles Canady of Florida, Supreme Court of Florida
Steven Colloton of Iowa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Allison Eid of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Britt Grant of Georgia, Supreme Court of Georgia
Raymond Gruender of Missouri, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Brett Kavanaugh of Maryland, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Raymond Kethledge of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Joan Larsen of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Mike Lee of Utah, United States Senator
Thomas Lee of Utah, Supreme Court of Utah
Edward Mansfield of Iowa, Supreme Court of Iowa
Federico Moreno of Florida, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
Kevin Newsom of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
William Pryor of Alabama, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Margaret Ryan of Virginia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
David Stras of Minnesota, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Amul Thapar of Kentucky, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Timothy Tymkovich of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Robert Young of Michigan, Supreme Court of Michigan (Ret.)
Don Willett of Texas, Supreme Court of Texas
Patrick Wyrick of Oklahoma, Supreme Court of Oklahoma
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) June 28, 2018