SCOTUS: Republicans, Democrats have different views on prospects for replacement

Christine Hallquist with Vermont SPCA poses with a dog named Ace during a press conference Thursday in Burlington, Vermont. Craig Smithall President Trump’s looming decision on a nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy means…

SCOTUS: Republicans, Democrats have different views on prospects for replacement

Christine Hallquist with Vermont SPCA poses with a dog named Ace during a press conference Thursday in Burlington, Vermont. Craig Smithall

President Trump’s looming decision on a nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy means the U.S. Supreme Court could be led by Justices from two civil rights groups.

But that’s “very unlikely,” Former Republican U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee staff member Greg Barton told Fox News.

Former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, who was nominated by President Trump to be his number two in the Senate, told Fox News that while he is happy with the nominee President Trump will decide, Democrats will be harder to recruit.

“Democrats are a lot more diverse these days, they have a lot more members,” he said. “The more robust selection they make of judges and Supreme Court justices that go after federal judges on gun issues, environment issues, I think will dilute the pool of potential nominees.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said at a rally in his state over the weekend that he’d be open to Republicans and the President choosing someone like retired Justice Antonin Scalia, who sided with the court’s conservative bloc in major social issues.

He said he’d also be open to an Obama-appointed judge if the seat remained open.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, now the longest-serving justice on the bench, announced his retirement from the bench on Tuesday. He is the author of the “traditional approach to constitutional interpretation,” often seen as the last bulwark between conservative and liberal camps.

The court has seen a significant shift since Trump took office and Kennedy announced his retirement from the court.

The nomination battle could be big business this time. The Federalist Society, one of the largest legal groups, is taking the lead and president Leonard Leo will work closely with U.S. Counsel and Supreme Court litigator Ted Olson, in his role as a temporary counsel to President Trump.

“The vacancy is extraordinary and warrants an extraordinary response,” said Leo, who also oversees the Federalist Society’s Federalist Society Institute. “It’s time to nominate a nominee who is capable of defining what a federal judge should and should not be.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said he’s ready to launch a filibuster of any nominee, while expressing confidence that Democrats would follow suit as well.

“I have not changed my mind,” he said in an interview. “We should filibuster. The right thing to do is to block anything and everything.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was appointed by President Reagan in 1991.

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