Speed Reads

kennedy retires

Republican senators believe Kennedy's retirement could save their majority

Republicans aren't planning to stretch the Supreme Court nomination cycle this time around. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Wednesday that there would be a quick nomination and confirmation process for replacing outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Republicans are apparently already speculating it'll help them in the midterms this fall.

Rumors that Kennedy would step down were already swirling as this Supreme Court decision cycle approached, and Kennedy confirmed his retirement Wednesday. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) wished for Kennedy's departure in March, saying a new justice "will get our base a little motivated," per audio obtained by Politico. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt his message for potential retirees: "If you're thinking about quitting this year, do it yesterday."

A fresh conservative face on the court could remind Republicans how great it is to have a majority as they vote this November, FiveThirtyEight suggests. And CNN correspondent Manu Raju had another explanation for the Republican celebration:

It could benefit Republican senators up for re-election to play the waiting game, as conservative voters fed up with their senator may not risk a protest vote with the end of Roe v. Wade at stake. But having a SCOTUS seat up in the air would likely just turn these midterms into an all-out war, says Ed Kilgore at Daily Intelligencer. "It's a really big deal," Kilgore writes. "Fasten your seat belts for a wild ride."