The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, 80, may be announced as early as next Monday, which is when the Supreme Court holds its last public session before the summer break.
A ruling on President Trump’s travel ban will likely take place during Monday’s final session, but if Kennedy takes that opportunity to announce his retirement, any travel ban news will be eclipsed by the fact that Democrats will surely go ballistic.
During his 29-year-tenure on the Supreme Court, Kennedy has often been the swing vote on many important rulings, including gay rights, abortion, the death penalty and Guantanamo Bay detainees, in which he usually sides with liberals. In fact, Kennedy’s 2015 ruling declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right in America. His retirement would give conservatives control of the bench for a very long time.
It’s being rumored that the judge has decided to step down from his post after a weekend reunion of Kennedy’s former law clerks was moved up a year. “Soon we’ll know if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate,” tweeted one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, who then walked back his statement, noting that he has “zero inside knowledge”.
To be clear, I have zero inside knowledge about if Kennedy will retire. I was just noting speculation in tweet about case for term limits.
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) June 24, 2017
In April, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters, “I would expect a resignation this summer.”
Should he leave the bench, President Trump would then be allowed to fill a second Supreme Court vacancy after nominating Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the court in April, despite Democratic efforts to block him.
Elderly justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 84, and Stephen Breyer, 78, were Democratic appointees, and neither one plans to step down in the near future. Ginsburg told an audience at Georgetown University last month, “I love my job.”
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