His retirement, which takes effect on July 31, gives Trump a second Supreme Court appointment in his 17 months in office after the Republican president previous year selected Neil Gorsuch, who has already become one of the most conservative justices.
At the same time, supporting Trump's nominee could bring its own political peril for Democrats - and the two Republicans - whose votes could be seen as the ones that could tip the 4-4 split on the court after Kennedy's departure toward conservatives for a generation to come.
There is no nominee yet, but Trump indicated on Friday he will likely pick from a short list of roughly five candidates, all of which have bona fides among conservatives and align ideologically with Justice Neil Gorsuch. "And hopefully we're going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding".
A leading contender to be appointed to the Supreme Court is a highly partisan Republican who holds an extremist view of presidential power, according to a Washington Post story analyzing his credentials.
But Republican Senator John McCain, who has an aggressive form of brain cancer, has been absent from the Senate for months, meaning that if all Senate Democrats vote against Trump's eventual nominee, it would take only one Republican defection to defeat his pick.
"The Supreme Court could do quite a lot of damage to the right recognized in Roe without ever formally overruling it, simply by upholding state laws that make it harder and harder for women to obtain abortions without banning them", Vladeck said.
Kennedy disappointed conservatives by joining Supreme Court decisions that affirmed the Roe decision, including a 1992 ruling in the case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Le rappeur Kanye West veut sortir 52 albums en 52 semaines
C'est en tout cas ce qu'il a dit à Jon Caramanica , un journaliste du New York Times: "52 albums en 52 semaines". Et le mari de Kim Kardashian ne s'est pas arrêté là, puisqu'il serait déjà en train de préparer la suite.
Speaking en route his golf property in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump said he would not ask candidates their position on Roe v. Wade. Kennedy was the deciding vote on several cases, but with no moderates in sight after the justice announced his retirement Wednesday, Matz believes his exit "will drastically change the energy of the building".
A court seat being on the line proved a powerful incentive for Republicans that fall, many willing to set aside their distaste for Trump's personal failings and incendiary rhetoric in order to add a conservative to the court. Trump asked Manchin. "I said Mr. President, that's your choice".
Still, it is clear from statements, news conferences, interviews and in speeches on the Senate floor, McConnell consistently and specifically said that "the presidential election process" - and not "a lame-duck president" - should decide the next Supreme Court justice.
"The fact that there's a modest enthusiasm disadvantage isn't all that meaningful because there's already an enthusiasm gap for Republicans", he said, noting Democratic anger toward Trump.
At a campaign rally this week in North Dakota, Trump indicated he would pick someone young enough to serve on the court for decades.
Kennedy's retirement was disclosed on the final day of the court's current term, which began in October.
Many White House allies see Brett Kavanaugh as the favorite to replace Kennedy. On Wednesday, he joined his fellow conservatives in a ruling that dealt a major setback to organized labor by shutting off a key union revenue source. "We're hoping there will be some Democratic support", he said, "We're not assuming this is just going to be a straight party-line vote".