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Sen. Cantwell: 'This is not a normal Supreme Court nominee'

Maria Cantwell
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang
Maria Cantwell

Justice Anthony Kennedy is set to retire at the end of July. President Trump is expected to name his nominee next week, but Senator Maria Cantwell said the process shouldn't be rushed.

"We definitely feel there is a whole host of questions we want answered," Cantwell said, speaking to Bill Radke on KUOW's The Record. "So we definitely think it should be past a time period -- the election -- so we can get those questions answered."

When asked about if she would try to delay the confirmation process for a nominee, Cantwell said, "I definitely am going to try to get our colleagues to not put this on the fast track. The larger issue is we need people to start talking about the important policy isues that need to be discussed."

Some of those policy issues she said relate to the Affordable Care Act, the emmoulments clause, and whether the new Supreme Court justice is going to pardon a president.

"We need to start talking about those issues now," she said. "This is not a normal Supreme Court nominee, if there is such a thing."

The new justice could determine the direction of the Supreme Court for a generation. "This is a change in the balance of the court," she said. "Are my colleagues voting to change that balance and run over precedent that has already been established?"

Cantwell also acknowledged that the issue of abortion, Roe v. Wade, is at the top of her list of issues.

"Top of the list is codifying the fact that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and has been established. And we could see a Supreme Court justice who wants to roll that back."

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Year started with KUOW: 2018