Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States by President Ronald Reagan, the longest current serving justice at over 30 years, announced his retirement on Wednesday through a letter delivered to the White House.
Almost immediately after, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear in remarks on the Senate floor that he expects to begin considering a replacement as soon as possible.
BREAKING: Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell says Senate will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy's successor this fall.— The Associated Press (@The Associated Press)1530124803.0
The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy."
"We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall," McConnell said.
President Donald Trump issued a statement on Twitter about the retirement, saying he intended to quickly choose a nominee from a list of 25 potential candidates published by the White House in November 2017.
Statement on Justice Anthony Kennedy. #SCOTUS https://t.co/8aWJ6fWemA— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1530126814.0
McConnell called on senators to make sure the president’s nominee will be “considered fairly.”
McConnell on Kennedy retiring: "It's imperative that the president's nominee be treated fairly."— Natasha Bertrand (@Natasha Bertrand)1530124543.0
This statement came just days after the Kentucky Republican, up for reelection in November, gloated on Twitter about obstructing President Barack Obama's SCOTUS nominee for over 9 months. The last vacancy on the Supreme Court occurred in February 2016 when Antonin Scalia died.
Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a moderate judge, as an olive branch to appease the GOP. But Republican Senate Leader McConnell blocked any hearings or consideration of the nomination.
The hypocrisy of McConnell now asking for fairness was not lost on anyone.
The Twittersphere responded to McConnell, quickly reminding him of his treatment of Obama's nominee.
@MariaAckermann @MasteroMustache @NatashaBertrand YES. We'll treat him(because of course it will be a him) as fairl… https://t.co/gr1mCE8Bn2— Seeking Justice (@Seeking Justice)1530124707.0
@AP AFTER THE ELECTION. That's his own rule, isn't it?— 𝑵𝒐 𝑸𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒓 (@𝑵𝒐 𝑸𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒆𝒓)1530124959.0
McConnell blocked Garland during an election year https://t.co/hit54RvhAC— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman)1530124928.0
@AP No they won’t. Democrats must grow a spine for once and do what the GOP did. Block nominees until 2021.— Elliot Gilfix (@Elliot Gilfix)1530124892.0
@AP An administration under investigation by a Special Prosecutor should not be nominating anybody for SC. Dems nee… https://t.co/O0AUtkpoCl— Frank Bryan (@Frank Bryan)1530124829.0
@NatashaBertrand I didn't realize McConnell had taken up comedy.— Apocalyptic Dreams (@Apocalyptic Dreams)1530127868.0
@AP @SenateMajLdr A potus under @fbi investigation should not get to pick a supreme court judge! @SenateDems @HouseDemocrats— mbberryfarm (@mbberryfarm)1530124876.0
@NatashaBertrand I agree, Merrick Garland should be appointed ... oh, wait.— OrangeGoth 🍊🦇🎃 (@OrangeGoth 🍊🦇🎃)1530125853.0
@NatashaBertrand Funny how it's imperative when it's their nominee.— Brian Ray (@Brian Ray)1530124627.0
@NatashaBertrand Like merrick garland was treated fairly? Got it— gee wrecks (@gee wrecks)1530126560.0
But I guess we have to wait until 2019 for the Supreme Court nomination seeing how Senate Republicans don’t believe… https://t.co/P3Bohmf2aD— Kyle Clark (@Kyle Clark)1530124488.0
@NatashaBertrand He cannot be serious— Kat Dub (@Kat Dub)1530125862.0
@NatashaBertrand Is this a joke??? McConnell has such gall .— Matthew Dowd (@Matthew Dowd)1530125015.0
@NatashaBertrand So NOW it should be a fair appointment. My how times have changed.— Debi Bishop (@Debi Bishop)1530126560.0
@NatashaBertrand Was McConnell fair?? #MerrickGarland— Dr Tammy Ruefli🌱Ⓥ🕉 (@Dr Tammy Ruefli🌱Ⓥ🕉)1530128396.0
@NatashaBertrand Wow, did he really say that with a straight face?— schreiner (@schreiner)1530125091.0
@NatashaBertrand Yes, treated fairly, when he is nominated by whoever wins the next presidential election (as per 2… https://t.co/70jPUwtwyc— Solid Science (@Solid Science)1530125461.0
@NatashaBertrand I’ve never wanted to flip a turtle upside down until this moment— 🍺HereHoldMyBeer🍺 (@🍺HereHoldMyBeer🍺)1530125528.0