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Key senator urges any wavering US high court justice to retire now

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The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Republican chairman said on Thursday any Supreme Court justice considering retirement from the lifetime job should announce immediately so a successor can be confirmed before the November U.S. midterm election.

Chuck Grassley, whose panel would oversee a confirmation process that at times in the past has been long and contentious, said he hoped any announcement would be “now or within two or three weeks because we’ve got to get this done before the election.” The court’s current nine-month term runs through the end of June.

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The most likely justice to retire would be Anthony Kennedy, who turns 82 in July and has served since 1988. One of the nine-member court’s five conservatives, Kennedy sometimes sides with the four liberal justices on major issues like gay rights and abortion. He has said nothing about retirement plans.

 If President Donald Trump appoints Kennedy’s successor, the court likely would move further to the right, with the liberals deprived of their occasional ally.
Grassley said an announcement is necessary now to allow time for a confirmation hearing and the required debate on the Senate floor before a final vote.

“So my message to any one of the nine Supreme Court justices, if you’re thinking about quitting this year, do it yesterday,” Grassley told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.

In November, the White House issued an expanded list of 25 potential Supreme Court nominees from which Trump could pick if another vacancy arises. The list of prominent conservative judges includes Brett Kavanaugh, a former Kennedy law clerk who serves on the U.S. appeals court in Washington.

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 “When you’re facing a court with members on it who have served as long as they have, it would be foolhardy not to be prepared with the possibility of another vacancy,” Leonard Leo, an outside advisor to the White House on judicial nominations, told Reuters last week.
Grassley last year oversaw the successful confirmation of Trump’s first high court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, who restored its conservative majority. The seat was vacant when Trump took office in January 2017 because his fellow Republicans in the Senate had refused to act on Democratic former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland.

The oldest justice, 85-year-old liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has given no indication of retirement and has previously criticized Trump. Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, 79, likewise has not signaled retirement. Justices generally try to plan their retirements so a president of the same party that appointed them can name a successor.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Greenland row is Donald Trump positioning for an Arctic battle: expert

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The diplomatic row that has erupted between Washington and Copenhagen over Greenland is just one part of a broader strategic battle being waged over control of the Arctic, according to one expert.

US President Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to Denmark and launched a war of words with his Danish counterpart, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, after she rejected his idea of the US buying Greenland as "absurd".

Mikaa Mered, professor of polar geopolitics at Paris' ILERI institute of international relations said Trump's unsolicited advances on the autonomous territory were a way to indicate US interest in the resource-rich Arctic -- and to distract from domestic issues.

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‘We won’t give an inch’: India faces defiance in ‘Kashmir’s Gaza’

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Young men sit beside a pile of rocks and a bonfire, protecting the only entrance to a besieged neighbourhood they call "Kashmir's Gaza" as a mosque loudspeaker broadcasts slogans of liberation.

In an act of defiance against New Delhi's controversial decision to strip the Muslim-majority region of its autonomy, Soura neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kashmir's main city of Srinagar has sealed itself off from security forces.

Since early August, residents have erected ramshackle barricades of tin sheets, wooden logs, oil tanks and concrete pillars, and dug trenches to keep soldiers at bay amid daily protests against India.

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Second day of Italy crisis talks after prime minister resigns

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Italy's president will hold a second day of talks aimed at solving the political crisis shaking the country on Thursday after the disintegration of the populist government.

President Sergio Mattarella will meet the main parties, including the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and far-right League, after the breakdown of their dysfunctional coalition.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday after months of alliance sniping and a bid by League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to force a snap election, just 14 months since coming to power.

The nationalist, populist government's demonisation of migrants, promoted by Salvini in particular, and attempts to flout EU budget rules had angered many European leaders.

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