That list included two judges with Michigan connections: Judge Raymond Kethledge, on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, and then-Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, who a year ago was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to join Kethledge on the Sixth Circuit.
Justice Kennedy's departure also comes at a time when some business owners are refusing to serve same-sex couples, and university campuses, and conservative groups say attempts by left-wing students to create safe spaces have stifled freedom of speech.
Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young, Jr.
In the spring of 2016, before his election, Trump issued a list of 11 conservative judges he considered "representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value" and saying he would use it as "a guide to nominate our next United State Supreme Court justices".
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.
The search, the president said, will begin immediately, and Kennedy's replacement will be chosen from the list of 25 candidates he considered a year ago, when he ultimately chose Gorsuch.
Esseks said he is hopeful the new justice will embrace recent legal victories in gay rights battles and urged senators to press the nominee on the issue during the confirmation process after Trump announces his pick. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a nationwide abortion provider, said it was bracing for Trump to appoint a justice to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had blocked Garland's nomination on grounds 2016 was a presidential election year, and the new president should have the opportunity to pick a justice. Though Trump has been friendly with Heitkamp, recently hosting her at the White House for a bill signing, the president repeatedly lambasted her as a close ally of liberal Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and suggested she would likely oppose his pick for the Supreme Court - even though she broke with her party and voted for his last pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Leader of UK Reform Jewry: Trump's immigration policies could lead to genocide
James Lankford says the White House needs to do a better job explaining why families were being separated at the southern border. In one tweet, he used the loaded term "infest" to reference the influx of immigrants entering the country illegally.
Kennedy is a conservative, but he joined the court's four liberals to cast deciding votes on several key social issues, most notably on gay marriage.
Republicans now hold a bare 51-49 majority in the Senate, although that includes the ailing Sen.
Mr Kennedy, who was raised in California, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and began his term in 1988.
In 2015, he authored the landmark opinion which gave LGBT citizens the right to marry, writing: "They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law and the Constitution grants them that right".
He called Kennedy a "spectacular man" with "tremendous heart" and said he hoped to pick somebody who will be as "outstanding" as Kennedy has been.
Justice Kennedy also favoured limits on the death penalty, writing the court's opinion in the 2005 Roper v. Simmons case, a five-four decision that barred executions for crimes committed by people under the age of 18.
"Justice Kennedy has been a tireless voice for individual rights and the founders' enduring vision of limited government".
"His words have left an indelible mark not only on this generation, but on the fabric of American history".