Anthony Kennedy retiring from Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
In a statement, the Supreme Court said the 81-year-old Kennedy will step down effective July 31. The judge called it “the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years in the Supreme Court.” Kennedy wants to spend more time with his family, even though they were content with him staying on the court.
He also sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday notifying the president of his decision.
“For a member of the legal profession, it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court,” he wrote. “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.
The president’s first nominee to the court, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, has already had an enormous effect on U.S. policy in narrowly-decided rulings this week related to Trump’s ban on travel from certain countries, abortion and labor unions.
Kennedy, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, took his seat as an associate justice in February of 1988. Considered a centrist, he has sometimes served as the swing vote on key cases throughout his career.
Replacing Kennedy with a conservative could have a massive long-term effect on the highest U.S. court. His decision to leave will have huge implications for the midterm elections, as Democrats and Republicans battle for control of the Senate.
A Supreme Court vacancy could serve to motivate voters, although Senate Republicans could try to fill Kennedy’s seat before November.
This storJacob PramukStaff Reportery is developing. Please check back for updates.