Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durban asked McConnell to delay the confirmation vote to "give the American people their say in the upcoming election before court vacancies are filled".
Timing is the issue, Coon said, adding that it's important for Senate Republicans to finish the nomination process prior to the November 6 general election.
Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on the Senate floor Wednesday that the Supreme Court seat should remain vacant until after the elections. The bitter 14-month battle over Scalia's seat, during which Republican senators refused to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland, will most likely pale in comparison to the coming fight over Kennedy's seat.
President Trump said that he found out about Kennedy's retirement a half-hour before it was announced - he had in fact gone to the White House to talk to the president for about 30 minutes, and Kennedy offered recommendations about who might replace him, the president told reporters during a meeting with the president of Portugal. "Their voices deserve to be heard then".
The Supreme Court has two cases left to decide before justices begin their summer break.
Justice Anthony Kennedy was seen as the most likely candidate to retire.
In that 5-3 decision - delivered by a shorthanded court just months after Scalia's death in 2016 - justices in the majority relied on the undue burden test to strike down a Texas law limiting abortion availability.
He added that, "Some people think outside of obviously war and peace it's the most important thing that you can have". The FBI is still conducting background checks, the person said.
Sen. Jeff Merkley said he's "worried" about the future of abortion now that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, a crucial swing vote on the high court, announced his retirement Wednesday.
The court could well decide the outcome of the recent family separation crisis at the border, too, and existential questions about the Trump presidency itself if that is where Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russian Federation probe MORE's investigation leads.
While Kennedy was a Republican appointee, he was viewed skeptically by many conservatives, who believed he hewed far too closely to the ideological center for their tastes. When President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch a year ago, he tipped the balance in favor of conservatives.
Trump says he discussed with Kennedy some potential replacements but declined to say which names were mentioned. "With a more reliable conservative, and Roberts having dug his own hole after basing the constitutionality of the ACA on the mandate being a tax - and the tax now having been repealed, that leaves the door open to a different decision in the Supreme Court".
Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, who is up for re-election as a Democrat in a state that voted for Trump, thanked Kennedy for his service.
Kennedy's sometimes-public brooding about his role was derided by some legal scholars.
It isn't clear what other woman might be on Trump's short list.
The 81-year-old justice, who has served on the court since 1988, was the author of the majority opinion on four key cases that transformed gay rights in America.
Kennedy was appointed by Ronald Reagan, and has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights. Mr. Trump did not answer questions about who Kennedy recommended.
The unlikely marriage between the thrice-married president and Christian conservatives has always been focused on Trump's ability to re-shape the nation's judicial branch.
However, he voted with the majority to uphold women's abortion rights established in the Roe v. Wade decision, and he cast the deciding vote in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.