Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy says he's retiring

28 June, 2018, 08:58 | Author: Donnie King
  • San Diego. Kennedy's appearance at the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference comes shortly after the nation's highest court put

Mr Kennedy penned the Supreme Court's first major gay-rights decision in 1996, protecting LGBT Americans from discrimination.

Undoing or at least putting more limits on that ruling has been a dream of conservative activists and contributed to conservative Christian support for Trump that helped him win the presidency in 2016.

Trump said he was eying a replacement who would be on the court for 40 to 45 years, a chance to lock in another reliably conservative justice and give the high court a conservative majority for the foreseeable future.

In 2017, Trump nominated and won confirmation of former Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, a conservative jurist who replaced Scalia and played a key role in several important decisions this term, including those upholding Trump's travel ban on immigrants from several countries, most of which are majority Muslim, on national security grounds, and finding that public employees can not be forced to pay agency dues to unions they do not belong to but bargain collectively on their behalf.

"Justice Kennedy's retirement makes the issue of Senate control one of the most important issues of our time, the most important thing we can do", Trump declared, warning his supporters that Democrats would pick judges that would "destroy your freedoms". That simple-majority rule remains in place for subsequent nominees.

"Any time you're in a midterm election year, you're going to have a concern about whether your base will turn out", said one official.

McConnell already said in May that a potential Supreme Court battle would move to the front of the judicial confirmation pipeline.

Instead, Mr. McConnell, delayed until after the election of Mr. Trump, allowing another conservative, Neil Gorsuch, to replace Mr. Scalia. If so, he or she will provide a fifth vote for the court's conservatives rather than its liberals - and over time reshape the USA legal landscape.




Though he was nominated by a Republican president, Kennedy, a California native, also has a strong libertarian streak, and he was the swing vote on the court, casting the deciding vote on the same-sex marriage decision, affirmative action, and Citizens United, among others.

Of his travel ban, which prohibits visitors and immigrants from five Muslim-majority countries, along with North Korea and Venezuela, Trump called it a "common-sense policy to improve vetting and national security".

Despite previously siding with liberal justices in some key cases, Kennedy was a reliable conservative vote during the latest term.

His retirement is a tremendous blow to the Left, especially after Senate Democrats' failure to filibuster the president's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Sen.

Trump has also filled a record-breaking number of seats on the influential federal appeals courts - appointing 21 judges in total - with the enthusiastic backing of the Senate, which votes to confirm them.

"Oh we are supremely screwed", Colbert wailed.

Leonard Leo, an outside advisor to Trump on judicial nominations who is on leave from his post at the Federalist Society, said Trump's list of potential nominees for this vacancy includes numerous very best judges in America. "The White House has to be cognizant of the fact they want to nominate someone who's going to get all 51 Republican votes".

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