Ninety percent of Democrats said the vacancy would make them more likely to vote for a Democratic Senate candidate in the November 6 election, compared with 81 percent of Republicans who said the issue would make them more likely to vote for a Senate candidate from their party. Nominated by Republican President Ronald Reagan and confirmed in 1988, Kennedy is widely thought to be a moderate and pivotal swing vote on the court. Asked about Barrett, he said, "She's an outstanding woman".
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Roe v. Wade's legalization of abortion rights nationwide in 1973 provided the burgeoning religious right with a powerful organizing focus, helping unite religious conservatives into a potent political bloc for the Republican Party.
Either way, there's no doubting how much the Supreme Court has served as a mobilizing force for religious conservatives for over half a century. For example, he sided with the court's liberals by voting in favor of abortion rights and gay rights in key cases.
Despite Trump's struggles with Christian values in his personal life at times, skeptical evangelical Christians lined up behind him in the 2016 election, and they remain one of his most loyal constituencies.
Also central to the vetting and interviewing process will be two associate counsels to the president: Rob Luther and David Morrell, said former Justice Department lawyer John Malcolm, now an analyst at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington.
"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 towards Trump. The White House said Trump's team also spoke with more than a dozen additional senators. But he has promised to draw the next justice from a list of 25 prospective candidates that was first established during the 2016 presidentialcampaign and updated last fall, with advice from conservatives. He said we are not final because we are infallible, we are infallible what we are final. As a minority, court-watchers say, he might be an attractive prospect for some Democrats in the Senate to support.
White House Counsel Don McGahn will be Trump's lead adviser on the pick, having successfully guided the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch through the selection and confirmation process previous year, White House sources said. Gorsuch cleared the Senate - only after McConnell pushed through a rules change to end the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees and lower the threshold for confirmation from 60 to a simple majority - with 54 votes.
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She said the duty of picking a justice is "one of the most important roles of a USA senator, and I don't take this job lightly". "Now that Justice Anthony Kennedy - a 25-year defender of abortion on the Supreme Court and the key vote to perpetuate Roe v.