Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that the Senate will vote in the fall to confirm President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE's forthcoming nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent … We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall," McConnell said from the Senate floor.
Kennedy announced on Wednesday afternoon that he is retiring after more than 30 years on the court, kicking off what is sure to be a vicious confirmation battle in the lead-up to the midterm elections.
Trump, who said he spoke with Kennedy for about half an hour at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, told reporters that the search for Kennedy's successor will begin "immediately."
McConnell laid down early guidelines for consideration of the forthcoming nomination, saying while senators would be able to meet with the nominee, he expected Trump's pick to be treated "fairly."
"It's imperative that the president's nominee be considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks," McConnell added.
Democrats will face intense pressure to use every procedural tool to stall and slow-walk Trump's pick.
But Republicans went "nuclear" and got rid of the 60-vote procedural hurdle when they confirmed Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, meaning Democrats can't block Trump's forthcoming pick without help from Republicans.
Republicans have a slim 51-seat majority. With Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE (R-Ariz.) battling brain cancer, their caucus is effectively capped at 50 votes.
That means Democrats would need to win over at least one GOP senator — as well as keep their caucus united — if they wanted to be able to sink Trump's Supreme Court nominee.
Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampProgressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill On The Money: Powell signals Fed will soon cut stimulus MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sanders traveling to Iowa, Indiana to pitch Biden's spending package Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (Ind.) — who are each up for reelection this year in states won by Trump in 2016 — voted for Gorsuch last year.