The appointment of D.J. Rehnquist to the Supreme Court is expected to be the biggest test of the Senate’s new rules of the chamber this year, with Republicans controlling both chambers and President Donald Trump threatening to filibuster the nominee.
The vacancy will likely come as a surprise to many conservatives who have long viewed the Supreme “justice” role as too conservative.
Rehman’s nomination is being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Republicans control both chambers, and Trump has threatened to filibuster every nominee to the high court.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has suggested the nominee’s qualifications should be considered in his confirmation hearings.
Rehm, 76, is the longest-serving chief justice on the court and has been nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009.
He served as a federal judge for eight years.
He is a lawyer and a longtime conservative activist.
Rehrman joined the court in 1987 and has led it for nearly 20 years.
Rehearsals have been held at the courthouse since 2009 and he received a unanimous vote from the court’s four conservative justices.
But Republicans have repeatedly threatened to block the nomination, arguing that Rehnerts judicial record would be a threat to the administration’s efforts to roll back the Affordable Care Act.
Rehtman is the second Republican nominee for the Supreme court in a decade, after the court ruled against the Obama administration in 2013.
Judge Elena Kagan was confirmed by the full Senate in December.
Trump has repeatedly expressed concerns about the Trump administration’s approach to the court, and he was quick to criticize the court last year when Chief Justice John Roberts said that Trump’s judicial appointments would “definitely end up costing lives.”
The president has called the court “rigged” and “the worst in the history of the United States.”
Rehmann has argued against the court ruling on the merits, and his views on the high courts have not changed.
He has also said that the Trump Justice Department has not taken adequate steps to enforce the law, including investigating possible civil rights violations by federal officials in the wake of the Ferguson, Mo., shooting.
The court is split 4-4 along conservative and liberal lines, with Roberts and conservative Justice Samuel Alito as conservatives and liberals as liberals.
The Supreme Court normally grants stays on nominations to ensure that the next nominee for a Supreme Court seat will be confirmed.