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Trump: I'm 'Honored' Justice Kennedy Is Stepping Down

President says decision deliberately made in his term so he can pick successor
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2018 6:04 AM CDT
Updated Jun 28, 2018 6:56 AM CDT
President Trump speaks at a campaign rally Wednesday, June 27, 2018, in Fargo, N.D.   (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(Newser) – President Trump praised Anthony Kennedy during a rally in North Dakota Wednesday evening and said he is "honored" the Supreme Court justice made his bombshell retirement decision when he did. "I'm very honored that he chose to do it during my term in office, because he felt confident in me to make the right choice and carry on his great legacy," Trump said in Fargo, reports Politico. Trump didn't go into detail on potential successors, except to say the person would need "intellect." And he emphasized the ramifications: "We have to pick a great one that is going to be there for 40 years or 45 years." (The pick is expected to come from this list, notes Time.)

As NPR reports, Trump also has begun casting the issue as an crucial one in the 2018 midterms, arguing that it's more important than ever that the GOP retain its grip on the Senate. "Justice Kennedy's retirement makes the issue of Senate control one of the vital issues of our time—the most important thing we can do," Trump told the crowd. He was there stumping for Rep. Kevin Cramer, the GOP challenger to Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who is seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbent Democrats given that she represents a red state. "Heidi will vote no to any pick we make for the Supreme Court," he said, though NPR notes she was one of three Democrats to vote in favor of Trump's first pick, Neil Gorsuch. (Read more Anthony Kennedy stories.)

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