President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that he plans to choose a replacement for outgoing Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy from a list of 25 judges previously circulated by the White House.
Speaking from the Oval Office Wednesday, Trump said his search for a replacement “will begin immediately,” and that “it will be somebody on that list.”
“I think you see the kind of quality that we’re looking at when you look at that list,” he told reporters, describing the judges on the list as “talented, highly educated, highly intelligent” people.
The president’s remarks came shortly after Kennedy, 81, announced his plans to retire next month. Kennedy has served 43 years as a federal judge, 30 of them with the Supreme Court.
Trump, who said he learned about Kennedy’s plans half an hour before speaking with the press, thanked Kennedy for his “tremendous service,” calling him “a very spectacular man.”
The White House also released a statement that praised Kennedy as “a true man of letters.”
“During his tenure on the Court, he authored landmark opinions in every significant area of constitutional law, most notably on equal protection under the law, the separation of powers, and the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech and religion,” the statement read. “Justice Kennedy has been a tireless voice for individual rights and the Founders’ enduring vision of limited government. His words have left an indelible mark not only on this generation, but on the fabric of American history.”
The retiring justice, in a statement, called his service “the greatest honor and privilege.”
Kennedy’s announcement came a day after the Supreme Court upheld Trump’s travel ban in a 5-4 ruling, a heavy blow to opponents of the ban who say it’s motivated by religious discrimination.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.