United States President Donald Trump on Friday said that he will name a Supreme Court Justice nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on July 9.
This came two days after Justice Kennedy announced his retirement, saying he will officially step down from the post by July 31.
When asked about the list of potential candidates, Trump said that there are five people, which also included two women.
“I’ve got it narrowed to about five,” the US President was quoted by The Hill, as saying.
During his visit to Wisconsin on Thursday, Trump said, “We’re going to pick ourselves one great United States Supreme Court justice to take the place of a great man.”
Calling Justice Kennedy a “great justice” who has displayed “tremendous vision and heart,” the US President said a search for his successor would start “immediately.”
Justice Kennedy’s retirement will pave way for Trump to choose a “more reliable conservative justice,” thereby cementing further control of the top court, USAToday reported.
Justice Kennedy, who served in the US Supreme Court for 30 years, has held the key swing vote on high-profile matters such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and capital punishment.
The 81-year-old justice was appointed in 1988 by then-president Ronald Reagan.
White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said on Thursday that Trump had started the selection process, adding that it is “something that the US President took very seriously.”
The Republican Party is determined to fill Justice Kennedy’s seat before the court’s 2018 term and mid-term elections begin in October and November respectively.
The party also holds a slender lead in the US Senate against the Democratic Party, with the numbers currently standing at 51-49.
It would be hoping to garner support to ensure the selection process for the new US Supreme Court justice goes smoothly.