According to The Hill, several Republican lawmakers are beginning to get nervous about Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Long expected to retire in the coming year or two, Kennedy would give President Trump a remarkable opportunity to appoint yet another conservative successor to the nation’s highest court, making him two for two in the first half of his first term. And as long as Republicans have the majority in the Senate and maintain use of the nuclear option they employed to put Neil Gorsuch through, it should be no problem to make sure Kennedy’s successor is confirmed to the bench.
But mind the “as long as” part of that statement.
Polls are varied when it comes to the Republicans’ chance of holding on to their congressional majorities in November, but there’s no question that even if things aren’t as bad as Democrats are claiming, there is a better-than-average chance that things could go south. If that happens, of course, it will make it much more difficult for Trump to push through a conservative nominee. In fact, it may make it impossible. Democrats are going to come into power ready to play hardball, especially after the whole Merrick Garland situation. They believe it’s time for payback; if they were to stonewall a nominee for two solid years, it would not surprise us in the least.
That has some Republicans wishing that Kennedy, if he’s planning to retire soon, will go ahead and get it done with.
“I would love to have a chance to replace Justice Kennedy on a Republican watch but that’s up to him. He has the right to serve as long as he wants,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Another GOP senator told The Hill: “[Kennedy’s] a Republican, his wife’s a Republican, his kids are Republican. You’d think he want his successor to be appointed by a Republican president.”
That lawmaker said that it would be ideal if Kennedy would announce his retirement later in the year, so that voters knew exactly what was at stake – the perfect way to drive up Republican enthusiasm at the polls.
“The only reason we won the White House and kept the Senate was because of that open Supreme Court seat,” the senator said.
We’re not 100% sure about that, but it likely made a difference with some of those who were sitting on the fence about Trump. Could it do the same in November?