Kennedy exit kicks off nomination battle

Catherine Lucey and Lisa Mascaro
Associated Press

Washington – The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will set off a fractious nomination process, as President Donald Trump seeks to cement his legacy with another conservative jurist.

Trump said Wednesday that he’ll start the effort to replace Kennedy immediately, pledging to pick from a list of 25 names that he started during the campaign and updated last year.

But he’ll face a major fight in the Senate in getting a nominee through. Republicans currently hold a bare 51-49 majority in the Senate, although that includes the ailing Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Trump’s counselors include Leonard Leo, who is taking a leave of absence as executive vice president of the Federalist Society to serve as an outside adviser to the process.