Two Coloradans are reportedly on President Donald Trump’s short list to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement Wednesday.
On it: former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid, who replaced Trump’s first high court nominee — Coloradan Neil Gorsuch, confirmed last year — on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Timothy Tymkovich, also of the Tenth Circuit.
The 81-year-old Kennedy said in a statement he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.
He has been a swing vote in many cases, at times siding with liberals.
Kennedy said he had informed his colleagues and Trump of his plans, and that his retirement will take effect at the end of July.
Trump praised Kennedy as a man of “tremendous vision” and said his search for a new justice would begin “immediately.”
Without Kennedy, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans. Trump’s nominee is likely to give the conservatives a solid majority and will face a Senate process in which Republicans hold the slimmest majority, but Democrats can’t delay confirmation.
If past practice is any indication, Trump will name a nominee within weeks, setting in motion a process that could allow confirmation by the time the court reconvenes in early October.
The Senate voted 56-41 in November to confirm Eid, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. She had served on the Colorado Supreme Court since 2006, when she was appointed by Republican Gov. Bill Owens. She is also a former state solicitor general under then-Attorney General John Suthers. Her husband, Troy Eid, was Colorado’s U.S. attorney during the George W. Bush administration.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who has known Eid since she taught at the University of Colorado Law School while he was a student there, called her a “mainstream, commonsense Westerner” during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Tymkovich was nominated to the Tenth Circuit in 2003 by former President George W. Bush. He served as a law clerk for Colorado Supreme Court Justice William H. Erickson from 1982-1983, and a state solicitor general from 1991-1996.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Colorado College in Colorado Springs in 1979 and his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law, where he is now an adjunct professor, in 1982, according to his official biography.
Twelve judges sit on the Tenth Circuit court, which hears appeals on federal cases from Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming.
The Associated Press and Colorado Politics reporter Ernest Luning contributed to this report.