Florida Senator Bill Nelson joined his fellow Democrats in vowing to fight to keep President Donald Trump from naming a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired yesterday. Nelson was quick to point out that Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell’s successful block of President Barack Obama’s nominee to the court, Merrick Garland, in 2016. Republicans argued the seat should be left open because it was a presidential election year.
Nelson, supported waiting until after the 2018 mid-terms set for November decide who is in charge of the Senate before talking about a replacement.
“Justice Kennedy was a balanced, consensus candidate nominated by President Reagan. I expect President Trump to do the same with his nomination,” Nelson said. “I believe the American people should be given the opportunity to express their view in the upcoming election, and then have the Senate exercise its constitutional duties.”
Meanwhile, don’t expect McConnell to hold up the process. As a matter of fact he is hoping that a new justice will be on the bench before the court returns from summer vacation on October 1st.
“This is not 2016. There aren’t the final months of a second-term constitutionally lame duck presidency with a presidential election fast approaching. We’re right in the middle of this president’s very first term,” McConnell said
President Trump has made it very clear that he would start the effort to replace Kennedy “immediately” and would pick from a list of 25 names that he updated last year. McConnell declared that the Senate “will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall.”
For many Republicans the chance to change the Supreme Court to a more conservative group of justices is the only reason they voted for then candidate Trump. Now comes the payoff as there are at present four justices picked by Democratic presidents and four picked by Republicans, so Trump’s second pick is the game changer for those Bush Republicans who against their better judgement voted for Trump.