But there's no doubt that Trump, in the second year of his presidency, can nominate another justice.
November's midterm elections are expected to produce a bitter struggle for control of Congress in a deeply polarized country, especially if a court seat is still in play.
Nearly certainly not. They will make the argument, as many already have, that as McConnell's rationale for blocking President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 was that the American people should get a say through an upcoming election, now the people should get a say with midterms coming up, as well. These issues go to the heart of our democracy, and Americans should implore their senators to use extreme care in the confirmation process and in their final pick.
Trump spoke Wednesday shortly after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. But Republicans were twice as likely to say it's the right amount of partisan - 22% to Democrats' 11% and independents' 10%.
"The great issues of our day are decided at the Supreme Court: immigration, religious liberty, the right to bear arms, the right to speak freely".
"I always look at judicial temperament, qualifications, experience, the ABA [American Bar Association] rating and their respect for the rule of law and the constitution", Collins said.
"This is the most important Supreme Court vacancy for this country in at least a generation", Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
He is a Georgetown University Law Center alumnus and is also reportedly the favorite of Trump's sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, with whom he serves on the US Court of Appeals.
Kethledge, a circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, clerked for Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that his chamber will work to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy before the midterms, a decision filled with political ramifications across Capitol Hill and the nation. He has spent three decades at the Supreme Court and was first appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Conservative groups that came together a year ago for a $17 million campaign to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, have prepped for months behind the scenes for this potential vacancy.
McConnell refused to act on Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, and the seat was left open until after the 2016 presidential election, allowing Trump to nominate Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durban asked McConnell to delay the confirmation vote to "give the American people their say in the upcoming election before court vacancies are filled".
Justice Kennedy's vote has been pivotal on key decisions including the 5-4 rulings that decided same-sex marriage and upheld Roe v Wade.
But, in her scathing dissent, Judge Sotomayor said that the court's majority accepted the government's invitation to set aside comments by President Trump he made against the Muslims, a news report said. "I'm optimistic we'll be able to get this done", Cornyn said shortly after the news broke.
"He will be missed, but he will be retiring", Trump said from the White House.
"Millions of people are just months away from determining the senators who should vote to confirm or reject the president's nominee, and their voices deserve to be heard", said Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the US Senate.