Rumors continue to circulate that Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy will likely retire sometime next year. Justice Kennedy is the Supreme Court’s longest serving member, nominated in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. According to The Hill:
Kennedy is considered the most pivotal justice on the Supreme Court, often known for casting the tie-breaking vote in key decisions. While he’s considered among the court’s conservative justices, he has sided with his liberal colleagues at times, including on the court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.
Which explains why it was big news when rumors surfaced that the nearly 81 year old justice told law clerk applicants that he is considering retirement. As NPR reports, “it is unlikely that Kennedy will remain on the court for the full four years of the Trump presidency. While he long ago hired his law clerks for the coming term, he has not done so for the following term (beginning Oct. 2018), and has let applicants for those positions know he is considering retirement.”
With Kennedy’s retirement imminent and very likely, thoughts are turning to what would happen if President Trump had the chance to nominate yet another Supreme Court Justice (at Trump’s nomination , Justice Neil M. Gorsuch was sworn into the court this past April). Thoughts turn to comments made during Trump’s campaign, as remembered by New York Post:
“If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, [overturning Roe v. Wade] will happen,” he [Trump] said in October during his final debate with Hillary Clinton.
“That will happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”
If Trumps earlier nomination (Gorsuch) is any indication of his future justice choices, this coming chance to nominate another social conservative Justice could change the course of history, giving the Court the ability to overturn previous decisions made on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, to name a few.
Just exactly when Justice Kennedy will resign is still very much up in the air, but for now it’s enough to predict that his resignation is coming. Hopefully, Kennedy’s retirement will enable President Trump to continue to fulfill his campaign promises to compile a Court of Justices who will uphold our nation’s morality and honor the Constitution.