Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Retiring

Anthony Kennedy, who often served as a swing vote on what otherwise would have been a solidly right-wing Supreme Court, is retiring. President Trump will get to make a second nomination to the Supreme Court. Both Kennedy and Roberts have occasionally fallen short of doctrinaire right-wing positions, so expect that conservatives will pressure Trump to select a replacement who is someone more trusted to vote as conservatives might expect a conservative justice to vote.  If Kennedy's replacement is in his or her forties or fifties then they could conceivably serve on the Supreme Court for another thirty or forty years.

Democrats will make a fuss about this but right now they lack the muscle to stop it. The real shift in the court may come about if Trump is able to replace someone like Ginsburg or Sotomayor. It is a testament to how far the judiciary has shifted to the right that some liberals will be sad to see Kennedy depart. 

WASHINGTON — Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced on Wednesday that he would retire, setting the stage for a furious fight over the future direction of the Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy, 81, has long been the decisive vote in many closely divided cases. His retirement gives President Trump the opportunity to fundamentally change the course of the Supreme Court. A Trump appointee would very likely create a solid five-member conservative majority that could imperil abortion rights and expand gun rights. Justice Kennedy’s voting record was moderately conservative. 

He wrote the majority opinion in Citizens United, which allowed unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, and he joined the majority in Bush v. Gore, which handed the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. He also voted with the court’s conservatives in cases on the Second Amendment and voting rights. But Justice Kennedy was the court’s leading champion of gay rights, and he joined the court’s liberals in cases on abortion, affirmative action and the death penalty.
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