Trump gets new Supreme Court pick as critical 'swing vote' resigns

Protesters gather at a rally in Washington on Oct. 17 2017. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS  Manuel Balce Ceneta

Protesters gather at a rally in Washington on Oct. 17 2017. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Manuel Balce Ceneta

With a second Supreme Court pick less than 18 months into his presidency, Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement will hand President Trump the reins to cement conservative control, fire up supporters eager for a rightward shift and shape USA justice for decades to come. Heidi Heitkamp in November's midterm elections.

"It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those on the Supreme Court", Kennedy was quoted as saying in a statement announcing his decision.

But a dissenting liberal justice said the court was making a historic mistake by refusing to recognize the ban discriminates against Muslims.

In the early days of Donald Trump's presidency, many progressive Americans dared to believe that maybe, just maybe, his election victory would not prove as consequential as they first feared. I say "arguably" because Kennedy probably won't be the last justice to retire under Trump; liberals Ginsburg and Breyer are retirement risks, as is conservative Clarence Thomas.

His retirement, which will take effect at the end of July, allows Trump the chance to cement conservative control of the high court.

Republicans refused to hold a hearing on President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia after the conservative stalwart died suddenly in February 2016, insisting that the seat should remain vacant until voters chose a new president that November, almost nine months later - an unprecedented move.

"We've got an election in four and a half months", Mr. Matthews said Wednesday.

He added: "The court that just this week crippled unions, upheld Trump's Muslim ban and race-based gerrymandering might turn conservative..."

The thing lawmakers from both sides agreed on Wednesday is that the stakes are incredibly high.

Contrary to Matthews' fiery advice, Democrats in the minority have little power to block the nominations of the Republican president, unlike the Republicans who were in the majority when Obama was in power. "There are times to fight and this is one of them".

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