Already the confirmation process is becoming a debate about the future of abortion rights in America and whether the nominee would uphold the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and subsequent challenges that have upheld a woman's right to abortion access. Barring some unforeseen miss in the background check, the nominee will be confirmed, and probably with votes to spare given how many Senate Democrats are facing stiff reelection in states carried by President Trump.
Bay State U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark said the ruling allows "the president's personal racial and religious biases and prejudices to dictate our immigration policy". "Our goal is to have a nominee that's in the mold of Justice Gorsuch", Field said, "somebody who's going to have fidelity to the Constitution, who won't legislate from the bench".
But it's just as likely that Trump nominates someone more aligned with the other conservatives on criminal justice issues. It would also have prevented gay people from marrying and ended university admissions programs that take race into account, she said. Trump welcomed Republicans Chuck Grassley, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Democrats Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp as part of the effort.
But they, or at least those of them who remember "Macbeth", might now say that nothing in Kennedy's career became him like the leaving it.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says it would be the "height of hypocrisy" for the Senate to vote on a new Supreme Court justice before the November midterm elections.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route from Washington to his private golf club in New Jersey, Trump said he may interview two contenders for the nomination this weekend.
"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 said in a statement at the close of the court's term, indicating a desire to spend more time with his family. If so, he or she will provide a fifth vote for the court's conservatives rather than its liberals - and over time reshape the US legal landscape. Sotomayor said simply, "I dissent".
Instead we'll think back fondly to the days - not that long ago - when filling these vacancies didn't routinely devolve into all-out tribal warfare.
The Senate confirmed Trump's first selection to the high court, Neil Gorsuch, in April 2017. Kennedy turns 82 in July and was the oldest justice behind 85-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
"Chief Justice Roberts, more than any other justice on the court, believes in narrow rulings that attract broad majorities, answering no more than necessary to resolve a given case", Jonathan Adler, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, wrote on the Volokh Conspiracy legal blog. "We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy's successor this fall".
McConnell's eagerness to hold hearings on Trump's second SCOTUS nominee stands in contrast to how he handled things in 2016, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February of that year.