Both of New York's U.S. senators said there should not be a vote on a new Supreme Court nominee this year, citing the Republican majority's prevention of a vote on Judge Merrick Garland's nomination in 2016, when GOP senators argued a decision should wait until after that November's elections.
Not following that precedent, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday, would be "the height of hypocrisy."
"Nothing less than the fate of our health care system, reproductive rights for women and countless other protections for middle-class Americans are at stake," Schumer said.
"The Senate should reject, on a bipartisan basis, any justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade or undermine key health care protections," Schumer continued. "The Senate should reject any justice who will instinctively side with powerful special interests over the interests of average Americans."
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand commented on Twitter.
"Now that there is a vacancy, after the Garland heist, the balance of the court will be tilted even more against women's, workers', and civil rights for decades to come if the president nominates 1 of the 25 judges that passed his litmus tests. We need to #ditchthelist now," she wrote soon after Kennedy announced his decision.
An hour later, she wrote: "The President just said the next Supreme Court nominee WILL come from his list of 25 judges that passed his overturning Roe v. Wade litmus test. We need to say NO hearings before the election and work our hearts out and take back the Senate."
While the House of Representatives does not have a say in the confirmation process, some local members of Congress weighed in.
"I would like to thank Justice Kennedy for his service to our country, and I wish him well," said U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook. "I trust President Trump will nominate a highly regarded legal scholar with experience in practical application of the law and possessing the judicial temperament to decide cases based on the Constitution."
"Having served on the highest court in the nation since the Reagan Administration, Justice Kennedy will leave an impactful legacy on our judicial system, and I wish him the best of luck in his retirement," said U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Willsboro. "I encourage President Trunp to nominate a qualified candidate similar to his first appointment, Justice Neil Gorsuch, to take his place on the bench as he works with the U.S. Senate to select our next Supreme Court justice."
Others also spoke out:
"The Supreme Court is not a political extension of the White House. Senate Dems should not confirm a justice unless we know they're fair and non-partisan," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Twitter. "I would go a step further and say they shouldn’t confirm anyone until after the election. Let’s see what the people say."
"This is what we have all feared and now we see it becoming a reality," said Robin Chappelle Golston, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. "New Yorkers have been left at risk for far too long due to the Senate Republican leadership's adamant refusal to secure our reproductive health care. With the prospect of another anti-reproductive health appointment to the Supreme Court, the threat can no longer be denied."