The Spectrum

Ohio lawmakers brace for fight over replacement for Supreme Court Justice Kennedy

WASHINGTON (WCMH) - Last week, was another contentious week in Washington, capped by the announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the man viewed as the centrist voice on the United States Supreme Court, would be retiring.

Within hours of the announcement, President Donald J. Trump was talking about reshaping the ideology of the court and Democrats were calling for a delay on a nomination until after the midterm elections.

Kennedy represented the consensus position on the court, leaning neither to the far left nor to the far right. He wrote the ruling on marriage equality and supported the decision of Roe v. Wade. However, Kennedy also supported the controversial decision in Citizens United, giving businesses unfettered rights to make campaign contributions. He was the swing vote in many cases, and Ohio lawmakers say they are bracing for a fight when it comes time to confirm his replacement.

“Justice Kennedy has given great service to our country. Sometimes, I’ve agreed with him; sometimes, I’ve disagreed with him,” said Rep. Steve Stivers. “I certainly respect his service to our country and I think, obviously that sets off a nomination fight that will be played out through the executive branch and the Senate.”

Stivers says the House of Representative closely watches confirmation battles that play out on the Senate floor.

Rep. Joyce Beatty says Kennedy’s retirement is a loss for the country but wishes him well in retirement.

“[It’s] a sad day for America,” Beatty said. “I think it’s interesting we are standing here under this quote, ‘One nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.’ That’s what he represented in his opinions.”

The replacement process involves Trump nominating a candidate for the seat and the Senate. Trump has already promised to reshape the court and the Senate is already arguing about when the nomination process should take place.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said it’s hypocritical for Republicans to push for a vote before the midterm elections when they refused to hold a vote for former President Barack Obama’s pick before the 2016 election.

Republican Sen. Rob Portman defended his refusal to proceed with the confirmation process in 2016 and his eagerness to proceed with the nomination process for Kennedy’s replacement.

“It [2016] was about the president being able to nominate somebody and that being part of how you or me or other people make decisions about who should be our presidential candidate,” Portman said. “That is within the president’s purview to decide who should be the nominee. In the election of 2016, I think people thought about that.”

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is hoping the president finds a moderate candidate to replace Kennedy.

“I hope the president nominates somebody that is more middle-of-the-road that we can coalesce around and get 80 votes,” Brown said.

Brown also said that in his view, the court has become more partisan, ruling in favor of corporations and against workers.

“I’m hopeful that the president will nominate somebody that sides with workers,” he said.


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