>> The surprise announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, setting up a possible confirmation battle for the ages, with a vote on Trump's pick to replace the judge expected for the fall. And the stakes are high, says Reuters US Supreme Court correspondent, Lawrence Hurley.>> Trump replacing Justice Kennedy is a seismic shift on the court, because it takes away the pivotal swing justice on the court, who sometimes sided with the courts for liberals even though he's a conservative.
Potentially replaces him with a more conservative justice who will be a solid conservative vote who won't side with the liberals. And that could have huge implications for things like abortion and gay rights. He's been the pivotal vote on gay rights cases, four cases in total, including the 2015 ruling that legalized gay marriage that he wrote.
And then also on abortion, he gave key votes that upheld Roe versus Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion, and there's no guarantee at all that his replacement would do the same thing.>> Top Democrat Chuck Schumer said the Senate should reject any nominee from Trump who would vote to overturn, Roe v Wade but a rule changed last year could allow Republicans to confirm a new justice without any Democratic support.
And whoever Trump's pick might be, the replacement will have an almost immediate impact on the court in deciding what cases to take up.>> Some of those hot-button issues we've been talking about are on the agenda in the next year or two, including challenges to new abortion restrictions in states, trying to curb abortion rates.
And also some challenges to gay rights issues including whether certain businesses can refuse to serve gay people based on their religious objections to gay marriage.>> So we have a pick to come up, we have to pick a great one.>> A person familiar with the White House nomination process said there were 5 frontfunners on the President's list of 25 candidates, two of whom Trump named Amul Thapar and Amy Coney Barrett.
The others are Brett Kavanagh, Thomas Hardimann, and Raymond Kevlidge, all of them seen as more conservative than Kennedy.