Indeed, a similar scenario played out in 2016 and, two years later, the strategy is proving successful for Republicans.
"This week's 5-4 decisions are a vivid reminder that we must have Supreme Court justices who honor the values of life and liberty at the very core of our Republic", Johnson said in a press release.
Kennedy turns 82 in July and was the oldest justice behind 85-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Trump says in the Oval Office that he hasn't "really thought about that".
"You want to go as quickly as possible", Trump replied. After that the court will have only eight justices and an ostensible 4-4 deadlock, as it did from February 2016-April 2017 after Antonin Scalia's death.
McConnell refused to act on Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, and the seat was left open until after the 2016 presidential election, allowing Trump to nominate Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Rather, this Supreme Court nomination will engender the most epic battle over such a nomination that this country has ever seen.
"Millions of people are just months away from determining the senators who should vote to confirm or reject the president's nominee, and their voices deserve to be heard", said Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the US Senate.
"I think we should just move ahead", he said. The FBI is still conducting background checks, the person said.
A federal appeals court judge in Washington was the early favorite among political bettors to succeed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.
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Michael Grimm in a GOP primary and former Trump adversary Mitt Romney won the Republican nomination to be Utah's next USA senator. Heitkamp says she also talked about global trade, oil prices and health care-related issues with the president.
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The court could well decide the outcome of the recent family separation crisis at the border, too, and existential questions about the Trump presidency itself if that is where Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's investigation leads.
McConnell added that he looks forward to another "outstanding selection" from Trump. Those who savored those words also fretted over whom President Trump would appoint to replace Kennedy in a palpable expression of the significance of Kennedy's legacy, especially to those in the LGBTQ community.
One of Trump's most popular actions with his political base so far was his nomination a year ago of the conservative justice Neil Gorsuch, and Trump has promised to tap an equally conservative judge as his second pick, given the chance.
Conservative activists said Wednesday the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy gives Republicans a much-needed boost headed into tough midterm elections for Congress. CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett joins CBSN with more on the list and and what's at stake.
President Donald Trump says the search for a new Supreme Court justice will begin "immediately". While the eight-justice situation that lasted for more than a year produced a number of divided decisions, now there are no more argument sessions scheduled before the court until October 1.
He called Kennedy a "spectacular man" with "tremendous heart" and said he hoped to pick somebody who will be as "outstanding" as Kennedy has been.
Field told USA TODAY that Koch network is "comfortable" with all the names on Trump's list.
The 81-year-old Kennedy was was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1988 by Ronald Reagan.
Though he was nominated by a Republican president, Kennedy, a California native, also has a strong libertarian streak, and he was the swing vote on the court, casting the deciding vote on the same-sex marriage decision, affirmative action, and Citizens United, among others. Kavanaugh also served as a law clerk to Kennedy of the Supreme Court. Kennedy was viewed warily by some in Reagan's circle as insufficiently conservative, but he was well-known and liked by two fellow Californians, the president himself and Reagan confidant Edwin Meese, then the US attorney general.
Since then, we have had another year to observe the Trump administration's downward spiral into cruelty and incoherence, an approach to governing that has not spared the judicial branch.