President Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme court, was merely the replacement of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia who died in 2016. However, the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy (81), will give the conservative justices a 5-4 majority. When Ruth Ginsburg retires, the conservatives could have a 6-3 majority. John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch are the four conservative justices. Ruth Ginsburg (85), Stephen Breyer (79), Sonia Solomayor, and Elena Kagan are the liberal justices. Anthony Kennedy was a swing vote on 5-4 decision on same sex marriage (Romer v. Evans).
On July 9th, President Trump is expected to nominate one of two U.S. Court of Appeals Judges to replace Anthony Kennedy, who retires July 31. CBS predicts the nomination will include Judge Brett Kavanaugh or Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Both of these judges are pro life and members of the Federalist Society. They believe in the strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.
Republicans have changed procedure rules in the senate to only require a simple majority to confirm a supreme court justice. Republicans have a 50-49 majority. Two moderate Republican women senators, (Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski) are pro-choice, If they both vote against a pro-life Kennedy replacement it could present a problem for President Trump. If either Collins or Murkowski abstain alone it would create a 49-49 tie, and Vice-President Trump could make the deciding vote. If Senator John McCain, who is suffering from brain cancer, is not able to vote, it is possible he will resign, and the Governor of Arizona will replace John McCain with his wife Cindy McCain.
Justice Ruth Ginsburg, (85) plans to retire in 2023, when she is 90. If President Trump wins a second term until 2025, there is a 98% chance he will replace Ruth Ginsburg. No Justice has remained in office after 90. She has had chemotherapy for colon and pancreas cancer. Chemotherapy shortens life expectancy by 30%. If Ginsburg retires, president Trump is purportedly considering nominating Judge Diane Sykes, U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, to replace Justice Ginsburg.