Trump hails 'tremendous' Supreme Court ruling — Travel ban

Jim Watson  AFP  Getty Images

Jim Watson AFP Getty Images

tMr Trump said the Supreme Court decision was a "great victory" for the nation and constitution.

The travel ban, which the Supreme Court allowed to take effect in December, has been widely criticised by refugee and human rights groups.

Schumer noted that Senate Republicans in 2016 refused to consider then-President Obama's court nominee, Merrick Garland, during an election year, leaving the seat vacant for President Trump's nominee of Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

Kennedy, 81, informed the White House of his plans Wednesday in a letter after 30 years of service. Doing so would let Trump appoint a replacement who could sit on the court for decades.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy says he plans to retire after three decades as a pivotal vote on the highest U.S. judicial body, giving President Donald Trump an opportunity to make the court more firmly conservative.

"The president remains deeply committed to identifying and selecting outstanding jurists in the mold of Justice Gorsuch", the White House said in a statement at the time the list was compiled.

Justice Kennedy is a traditional conservative who sometimes joined the liberal justices on key rulings, earning a reputation as the court's "swing" vote who heartened conservatives and liberals alike, depending on the issue. His departure now opens the door to solidifying a far more conservative Supreme Court. If Democrats stand united in opposition to Trump's choice, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky can lose no more than one vote. The court's make-up will determine important issues, including reproductive rights.

However, he also has been a key vote when conservatives have won major rulings on the outcome of the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush, gun rights, limiting regulation of campaign money and gutting a key provision of the landmark federal Voting Rights Act.

A President Reagan appointee, Kennedy has been on the high court since 1988 and was the longest-serving justice on the current court.

Without him, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents, and four conservatives who were named by Republicans.

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