In a shocking announcement, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy revealed on Wednesday that he's retiring from his position on the Supreme Court. Kennedy is the longest-serving member of the current court. He will step down on July 31.
This is a momentous announcement because it means President Trump will have yet another opportunity to appoint a conservative justice. There will undoubtedly be a battle between conservatives and liberals over the open spot.
There will be key senator votes. A majority vote is needed in Senate to confirm the appointment.
Kennedy, 81, has played a key part on the court. He is known as the swing vote between conservative and liberal justices. He has played the swing vote on issues ranging from abortion and affirmative action to gay rights and capital punishment. In these cases, he often voted with the court’s more liberal justices.
His retirement comes a year after Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch has been a conservative justice, and hopefully, President Trump will deliver more of the same.
Kennedy announced his retirement in a letter to President Trump. He began with "My dear Mr. President."
"For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honors to serve on this court," he wrote. "Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret, and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises."
He gave no hint of his departure earlier on Wednesday. June 27 was the court's last day in session. However, his wife Mary and several members of his family were present in the court.
According to USA Today, President Trump has said he would choose from a list of 25 potential nominees assembled with the help of the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation. He has the opportunity to replace a moderate justice with a conservative, which would promise a conservative court for decades to come.
It's also possible that President Trump will have a third nomination during his time in the White House. Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 85 is four years older than her retiring colleague. It's possible that she will retire in the next couple of years.
Liberals have been afraid that Kennedy might retire. He began hinting in 2016 when he scheduled a reunion of former law clerks a year earlier than his customary five-year interval.
Kennedy’s decision to wait until 2018 allowed Supreme Court to accustom itself to Gorsuch. However, he did not wait long enough for the Democrats to potential regain a Senate majority in the midterm elections, which means they may not be able to block the POTUS' nominee.
Republicans have a 51-seat majority now. This gives them the ability to withstand Democratic opposition. Confirmation only requires a simple majority.
"Still, the upcoming battle over Kennedy’s replacement is certain to be one of the most intense ever, with conservative and liberal interest groups poised to spend tens of millions of dollars in advertising and grass-roots activity," added USA Today.
The battle for the nomination is likely to happen before the midterm elections in November. Republicans would like to fill the seat before the 2018 Supreme Court term begins in October.
In other news, there's major news about the owner of the restaurant that refused to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Do you think more will happen to her?