Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is reportedly retiring, now that the current session of the Court has come to a close. This comes after months of speculation that a member of the Court would be stepping down in the near future. Kennedy in particular had been rumored, as he is 81 years old.
BREAKING: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy says he’s retiring; Trump to get 2nd high-court pick .
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 27, 2018
Kennedy’s exit could result in a major shift in the Court’s makeup. Long regarded as a centrist and a swing vote on controversial cases, he would likely be replaced by a conservative jurist. This would be the second Supreme Court position that President Donald Trump would get to fill.
Trump previously nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch, a known conservative, to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch shared Scalia’s originalist take on the Constitution, so the selection wasn’t a drastic change. Nevertheless, the move was highly controversial, given that it occurred after Senate Republicans waited out President Barack Obama‘s final year in office without granting a hearing for Merrick Garland, a centrist judge appointed by Obama.
Kennedy was instrumental in key cases for the right and the left. Notably, writing the majority opinon in the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage across the country, and just this week voted in favor of President Trump’s travel ban in Trump v. Hawaii.
[Image via WJH screengrab]