Trump says he'll name high court pick on July 9

Justice Kennedy retires after 30 years

Deutsche Bank loaned President Donald Trump over $1 billion for his real-estate projects while Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's son led a real-estate division there, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Justice Kennedy, who turns 82 in July and is the second-oldest justice on the nine-member court, has become one of the most consequential U.S. jurists since joining the court in 1988 as an appointee of Republican President Ronald Reagan.

A onetime supporter of abortion rights, Trump attracted support from social conservatives during the presidential campaign in large part because of his strong opposition to abortion.

At a rally in front of the court Thursday, speaker after speaker pointed to abortion as a way to rally opposition to the eventual nominee, who Trump has said will come from among 25 people he previously identified as candidates.

Kennedy's retirement announcement on Wednesday sent shockwaves through Washington and constituted a victory for Trump, who will choose Kennedy's replacement, pending confirmation from the Republican-controlled Senate. On Friday, Trump reassured reporters that he would discuss United States interests in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, and would certainly raise the issue of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. "And hopefully we're going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding".

He said Kennedy understood his role as a swing vote: "The justice knew that on many controversial issues he could tip the court and I think he appreciated that, and sought to create balance in the Constitution and in the constitutional law that the court issued".

"We have to pick a great one".

Other prominent names who could be considered include Judges Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump named to the federal appeals court in Chicago; Raymond Kethledge, a former Kennedy law clerk who serves on the appeals court based in Cincinnati; and Amul Thapar, who is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and whom Trump nominated to the Cincinnati-based appeals court.

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The party's long-term strategy to focus on the Supreme Court - highlighted by an audacious decision not to allow a vote in 2016 on President Barack Obama's judicial pick - culminated this week with a series of conservative rulings and another vacancy. Moreover, the court overruled a 41-year-old precedent that allowed public employee unions to collect fees from non-members, a decision viewed as a major blow for Democrats.

So who will benefit most from the debate over Justice Kennedy's retirement?

A court seat being on the line proved a powerful incentive for Republicans that fall, many willing to set aside their distaste for Trump's personal failings and incendiary rhetoric in order to add a conservative to the court.

The Supreme Court job is for life. Heidi Heitkamp, said the Supreme Court "makes the issue of Senate control one of the vital issues of our time".

The Senate is bracing for Trump to announce a quick nominee as soon as July 10.

While Trump did not make rolling back abortion rights a central plank of his campaign, numerous conservative rank and file want Roe v. Wade overturned and Trump promised to put anti-abortion justices on the Supreme Court.

Trump won West Virginia by 42 percentage points in the 2016 election, North Dakota by 36 percentage points and in by more than 19 percentage points.

If Trump is successful in pushing through a nominee who's likely to overturn or erode Roe, the fight over the future of the decision could play out in several ways.

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