Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday effective July 31, after 40 years on the bench — having been appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988. In a letter to President Trump, Kennedy wrote the following:
“For a member of the legal profession, it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court. Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.”
Kennedy’s retirement means that the Trump administration will now have the opportunity to replace at least two Supreme Court justices, which it will likely attempt to complete before a possible blue wave in the November midterms.
This is extremely bad news for progressives. Although Kennedy has sided with Supreme Court conservatives on recent issues like Trump’s travel ban and the decision to uphold a California law regarding anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers — the traditionally swing voter often sided with liberal SCOTUS justices, and was the deciding factor to legalize same sex marriage in 2015.
Prior to his announcement, Kennedy took the opportunity to remind Trump that he is not above the law. “An anxious world must know that our Government remains committed always to the liberties the Constitution seeks to preserve and protect, so that freedom extends outward, and lasts,” he said in a statement.
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