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Senators address Justice Kennedy’s retirement, impact on women’s health

News of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement came just minutes after the U.S. House voted against a second immigration bill and swept over the afternoon news cycle. Many, including Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., noted Kennedy’s announcement came on the third-anniversary of Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which reaffirmed a woman’s right to access legal abortion. Kennedy was the pivotal vote in the case.

Murray used some of her floor time today to address Kennedy’s retirement.

“It is clear that Justice Kennedy’s retirement comes at a pivotal point in our nation’s history, when so many of our values are under attack by a president who has spent every day in office testing the limits of our Constitution,” she said. “Voting rights are at stake. LGBTQ progress is at stake. The right to organize collectively is at stake. And those are just a few. There is so much more.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., also addressed Kennedy’s retirement and what it means for women’s health as President Donald Trump prepares to appoint a new justice.

“From protecting a woman’s right to choose and the rights of the LGBTQ community to defending labor rights, voting rights, and guarding against discrimination in all forms, Americans’ fundamental rights are at stake. We cannot afford to rush the confirmation process,” Cantwell said. “As a United States Senator, I take my Constitutional responsibility to advise and consent very seriously. The American people deserve a thorough and deliberative vetting process for whomever the president nominates.”

Murray seconded this notion, asking the President and Congress to ensure due process as a nominee is considered.

Katy Sword

I cover the city of Vancouver and federal politics. Reach me at katy.sword@columbian.com.

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