President Trump Plans To Announce Supreme Court Pick On July 9

John McCain of Arizona absent and unlikely to return to vote, the GOP has 50 votes to the Democrats' 49, and Vice President Pence holds a tie-breaking vote in case of other absences. With only 99 senators now voting, the nominee can be approved by a 50-49 margin.

Kennedy's replacement could cast a deciding vote on limiting or ending the right to abortion.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said it would be "the absolute height of hypocrisy" for Republicans to confirm a justice in an election year, given their response to Garland's nomination.

Of course, overturning Roe v. Wade will do nothing to end abortion, it will only make it less safe for expectant parents who want the procedure and harder to regulate.

Few justices have continued their tenures on the court after the age of 80, and only 11 justices have served while they were older than Kennedy.

After Kennedy announced his retirement, Trump thanked him for his service.

Few senators are as familiar with - and as cool at handling - the hot seat than Sens. "And as you know there have been many presidents that never got a choice". Gun rights or restrictions were the most-cited issue, followed by health care, then civil rights.

Kennedy was long thought to be the crucial swing vote on any legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, having already upheld the landmark decision in 1992.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy is seen during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC.

He added, "I think it's inappropriate to discuss". Asked about Barrett, he said, "She's an outstanding woman".

Trump's nominee must win confirmation by the Senate. Both senators are Republicans. Several Democratic senators have re-election campaigns this fall in states that Trump won and are considered in jeopardy.

One person on that list of names is Utah Sen.

"We have to pick one that's going to be there 40 years, 45 years", Trump said at a rally on Thursday. "And that'll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court".

Unlike Heitkamp, Donnelly and Manchin are Democrats who generally oppose abortion rights and are endorsed by Democrats for Life, the "pro-life voice of the Democratic Party".

"I've got it narrowed to about five", Mr. Trump said during an Air Force One flight to New Jersey where he'll spend the weekend at one of his golf clubs. McConnell told Fox News that Republicans believe some combination of Democratic support is possible. "This is a line that's been drawn about whether we are going to criminalize women, whether we are going to be arresting women for making decisions about their bodies".