The U.S. Supreme Court — the highest ranking judicial body — currently consists of five conservative justices and four liberals, each appointed by members of their own parties. And President Trump is planning to maintain that ratio when Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, retires in July.
Kennedy, who has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights, announced on June 27 that he was stepping down from the high court after 30 years of service.
Trump, hoping to move the Supreme Court even more to the right, said he would start his search for Kennedy's replacement immediately. It will be the second high court seat Trump has filled since taking office, following his nomination of Neil Gorsuch in 2017.
“Hopefully, we’re going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding,” Trump said.
As Trump continues to mull over candidates, here's a look at the sitting Supreme Court justices.
Chief Justice John Roberts
Nominated to the bench in 2005 by former President George W. Bush, John Roberts, 63, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1979, according to his court biography. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Roberts served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as an associate counsel to former President Ronald Reagan and in the White House Counsel’s Office in the 1980s.
Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
Samuel Alito, Jr., has served on the Supreme Court since 2006 after he was nominated by former President George W. Bush. Alito, 68, is a Republican.
Born in New Jersey, Alito attended Princeton University and Yale Law School. Before joining the Supreme Court, he was a former assistant to the Solicitor General and worked with the Department of Justice.
Associate Justice Stephen Breyer
Stephen Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1994 after being nominated by former President Bill Clinton. Breyer, 79, graduated from Stanford University, Magdalen College in Oxford and Harvard Law School.
Previously, Breyer served as an assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force and special counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Breyer is a Democrat.
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Nominated by former President Bill Clinton in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is only the second female to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg, 85, attended Cornell University for her undergraduate degree before attending Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School.
A Democrat, Ginsburg launched the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union prior to becoming a Supreme Court justice, according to her court biography. She also served on the ACLU’s general counsel.
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch
Neil Gorsuch was President Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee. He graduated from Columbia University, Harvard Law School and Oxford University.
Prior to joining the Supreme Court in 2017, Gorsuch clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. Gorsuch, 50, served on the Standing Committee on Rules for Practice and Procedure of the U.S. Judicial Conference. He is a Republican.
Associate Justice Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan, 58, has served on the Supreme Court since 2010. She was nominated by former President Barack Obama.
Kagan has degrees from Princeton University, Oxford University and Harvard Law School. She previously was a law professor at the University of Chicago Law School and Harvard Law School. A Democrat, she also served in the Clinton administration, clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and served as the Dean of Harvard Law School.
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy
Anthony Kennedy, 81, was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1987 by former President Ronald Reagan and was sworn in the next year. He has received degrees from Stanford University, the London School of Economics and Harvard Law School.
A Republican, Kennedy is considered by many to be a swing vote on the court. He’s been a Supreme Court justice longer than any current member.
Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor received Princeton University’s highest academic honor when she graduated and now she sits on the nation’s highest court. Sotomayor, 64, was nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2009.
Like Alito, Sotomayor also attended Yale University where she got her J.D. Sotomayor, a Democrat, was also appointed to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York by former President George H.W. Bush in 1991.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas
From Pin Point, Ga., Clarence Thomas replaced Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court in 1991. The 70-year-old was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush.
Thomas, 69, attended seminary school from 1967 to 1968 before graduating from Holy Cross College and Yale Law School, according to his court biography. A Republican, Thomas has also served as an Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and the chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.