Chris Matthews: Mitch McConnell has 'no right' to fill Supreme Court vacancy

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Now President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to place a more solidly conservative judge in Kennedy's place, tilting the nation's highest bench further in favor of Republicans.

"His departure will enable Trump to nominate a conservative replacement, skewing the court to the right for decades as the remaining justices serve out their lifetime tenures".

For years, he has infuriated conservatives with decisions striking down prayer at public school graduations and upholding abortion rights - and exasperated liberals with decisions on affirmative action and campaign finance laws.

His retirement is a tremendous blow to the Left, especially after Senate Democrats' failure to filibuster the president's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Sen.

Justice Kennedy 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.

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Republicans now hold a bare 51-49 majority in the Senate, although that includes the ailing Sen.

"This could well prove to be the most significant thing President Trump does in his entire time in office". If the Senate divides 50-50, Vice President Mike Pence could break a tie to confirm the nominee. The conservative justices on the court give loads of leeway to a president (in this case, a insane one who has been compromised by a foreign power) to dictate immigration policy.

Later on his own show, Matthews advocated that the Democrats stall any nomination the president might make, just as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did to former President Obama's court nominations. Kennedy's retirement gives Mr. Trump his second nomination, following Justice Neil Gorsuch.

So if a new justice is in fact confirmed in September or October, will the saga actually affect voting in November?

There are only nine justices, who only get replaced if they retire or die, so who sits on it really matters.