After Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016, Kennedy was left as the most senior justice on the Supreme Court since his appointment by President Ronald Reagan and Senate confirmation in 1988(after Reagan's previous two appointments, the first being Robert Bork, were rejected by the Senate over their being far too conservative; In fact, I came to find out years ago that Bork would have been astronomically terrible for free speech rights). With Kennedy retiring, that now makes Justice Clarence Thomas as the longest tenured justice on the Supreme Court(he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate in 1991).
And since Kennedy was seen as more moderate, siding with the conservative members of the Court on some cases and the more liberal Justices on other cases, the Supreme Court will likely shift further to the right with whomever President Donald Trump ends up selecting as Kennedy's replacement. And as I said last year when Neil Gorsuch was appointed and confirmed as Scalia's replacement, the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for it. But I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself.
Both sides are being hypocritical with their thoughts on when Kennedy's replacement should join the Supreme Court. Trump would further cement himself as a hypocrite if he appoints another solid conservative because he had said on the campaign trail that the Supreme Court should be a balanced court. Two years ago when Scalia died, the Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked any attempt to hold hearings to confirm President Barack Obama's appointment of Merrick Garland using the excuse of "It's an election year, let the next President make the appointment", ignoring that Kennedy was appointed and confirmed in an election year as well as a very recent Justice as I'll explain in a bit.
As I pointed out before in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election, McConnell & the other GOP Senators did that for purely political reasons as they were afraid that Garland or anyone else Obama or Hillary Clinton picked to replace Antonin Scalia would have shifted the ideological balance of the US Supreme Court from center-right to center-left.* It was also a big gamble on McConnell's part that succeeded when Trump won the White House and the GOP kept control of both houses of Congress.
Now the Republicans are going to go through with quickly confirming Kennedy's replacement once Trump names him or her even though this year is an election year by saying that "we meant a Presidential election year". But the Democrats are being equally hypocritical by claiming that the GOP should wait until after the midterm elections in November to vote on Kennedy's replacement like they did with Scalia's replacement in 2016. Especially since the Democrats previously have had no problem with voting on Supreme Court appointments during election years.
Back in 2010(which was a midterm election year), when Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court, Obama appointed Elena Kagan to replace him, and the appointment was confirmed by the Democrat controlled Senate with some Republicans also voting to confirm Kagan because it didn't affect the ideological balance of the court.
However, the GOP holds all the cards in this high stakes poker game because the Democrats handed those cards to them. When Trump named Neil Gorsuch as Scalia's replacement shortly after his inauguration, the Democrats led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stupidly chose to filibuster Gorsuch's nomination even when they knew that Gorsuch didn't have the 60 votes needed at the time for confirmation. But all that filibuster did was allow the GOP to change the rules to make it where Supreme Court Justice nominees only needed a simple majority of 51 votes to confirm the appointment. It made it much easier for Trump to fill a vacancy in the Supreme Court and by fighting Gorsuch, the Democrats basically forfeited this fight to replace Anthony Kennedy or a future fight to replace the ancient Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Gorsuch won confirmation by a vote of 54-45 with 3 Democrats voting for Gorsuch because they are up for re-election this year in states that voted heavily for Trump in 2016, though 1 Republican was unable to vote.
Even though the GOP only has 51 senators and there are at least 3 GOP senators that may not vote for the confirmation of Kennedy's replacement(Jeff Flake of Arizona because he hates Trump although he's retiring when his term expires at the end of the year, and both Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine because they're both pro-abortion and are afraid that Kennedy's replacement will ultimately help overturn Roe v. Wade), those same three Democrats(Jim Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and some guy from West Virginia that I forgot the name of) may end up being forced to vote for the confirmation of Kennedy's replacement as they attempt to stay in office. Even if Heitkamp votes against Kennedy's replacement as Trump said he thinks she would at a rally in South Dakota the night of Kennedy's retirement, if the other two Democrats that voted to confirm Gorsuch votes for Kennedy's replacement, it might allow Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie vote depending on if John McCain's health would allow him to vote.
And even if Trump's pick to replace Kennedy fails to get the 51 votes needed for confirmation, he and the GOP can then turn around and blame the Democrats for the failed vote, further galvanizing the GOP's conservative base. And the Democrats are already on very shaky ground as it stands right now.
Before the school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Valentine's Day, the Democrats held a 15 point lead over the GOP in the midterm polls. Since then, the lead the Democrats once enjoyed has completely disappeared and now the Republicans lead those polls, opening the door for the GOP to not only maintain control of both houses of Congress, but regain seats in the Senate(in part because most of the Senate seats in play this year are Democrats up for re-election).
A big part of why the Democrats lost their lead in those polls is because the two biggest issues being pushed right now, gun control and immigration reform, are the two major issues that Democrats regularly lose on. In fact, partly because of the Democrats & the news media's continued Roman Reigns/John Cena style push of the Parkland cult, support for gun control in the US has actually fallen since the Parkland shooting. It also doesn't help when Hollywood pushes blatant anti-gun propaganda on TV shows like Arrow and Supergirl. Plus, Trump won the 2016 Presidential election in part because he specifically pushed for immigration reform(building a wall on the border with Mexico among other things). Also, going against President Trump has hurt politicians on both sides. In the primary elections, several anti-Trump politicians lost to pro-Trump challengers, especially in states that Trump won in the 2016 election. For example, in South Carolina, Katie Arrington(who is currently recovering from a car crash she was recently in) defated the incumbent Congressman in the Republican primary for that House seat. It shows that Donald Trump is more popular than he is being given credit for in the polls.
As I said before, the Democrats have let far left ideologues dictate their policy and their behavior.** As Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock told Dave Rubin, the Democrats shifted away from moderate New York liberalism to militant San Francisco regressive liberalism. As such, the Democrats have alienated moderates and independents far more than the GOP have. And it continues to show that the Democrats didn't learn a damn thing from their loss in 2016. Instead, they chose to double down on the same bullshit that cost them in 2016 and it will cost them in 2018.
*- I still think that Garland would be on the Supreme Court right now if HIllary Clinton had won because the Republican Senators would have confirmed him just to keep Hillary from getting to pick Scalia's replacement.
**- When Democrats like Rep. Maxine Waters call for Democrat supporters to harass people that work in the Trump administration on the streets like what happened recently with the Homeland Security director and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Democrat supporters like Peter Fonda suggest that the President's 12 year old son be kidnapped, put in a cage, and raped by pedophiles, it just shows rational thinking people how unhinged scumbags like Mad Maxine and Fonda(who probably defended Roman Polanski) really are. And makes those same rational thinking people more likely to vote against idiots like her. Another reason why Trump won in 2016 and will likely win again in 2020.
Also note that Peter Fonda probably was NOT banned from Twitter even though he directly advocated for violence against the First Lady and the 12 year old son of the current US President.