Justice Kennedy to retire from Supreme Court

Justice Kennedy to retire from Supreme Court

On Wednesday, Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy penned a letter to President Donald Trump announcing his planned resignation.

Justice Anthony Kennedy is stepping down from the U.S. Supreme Court.

He will retire effective July 31.

Social media outbursts after Kennedy's announcement Wednesday suggested that this fight will be every bit as brutal as was the confirmation of Gorsuch previous year by a vote of 54-45.

"I'm happy to see a Supreme Court right of center, as it was before Justice Scalia passed away", McConnell said on Tuesday.

"This is the most important Supreme Court vacancy for this country in at least a generation", said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) "Nothing less than the fate of our health-care system, reproductive rights for women and countless other protections for middle-class Americans are at stake". He's provided key votes in decisions limiting school prayer, while siding with religious institutions in other cases involving their relationship with the government.

President Donald Trump says the search for a new Supreme Court justice will begin "immediately".

Also potential replacements: Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, and Raymond Kethledge of MI, who serves on the 6th Circuit.

The opening also is likely to turn into a major issue in the upcoming midterms.

Mr Trump's nominee, likely to give the conservatives a solid majority, will face a Senate confirmation process in which Republicans hold the slimmest majority but Democrats can not prevent a vote.

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In a statement, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley says he "looks forward to having the nominee before us in the Senate Judiciary Committee for his or her hearing in the weeks ahead".

Even so, Kennedy's position in the court's centre guarantees a fierce confirmation fight.

"I'm anxious about Roe v. Wade", Merkley said in another tweet about the landmark decision in 1973 that recognized a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

If Democrats stand united in opposition to Mr Trump's choice, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky can lose no more than one vote.

It's also hard to overstate how important the possibility of multiple Supreme Court openings was to the grudging acceptance of Trump's candidacy by a Republican establishment that anxious, at least initially, that his nomination could destroy their party for years (and maybe even decades) to come.

A Ronald Reagan appointee, Kennedy was a strong conservative voice on the Court, and his voting record showed his support of the rights of the individual. For years, anti-gerrymandering advocates have sought to bring Kennedy a case that could convince him to join the liberals, after he wrote a 2004 concurrence hinting that, under specific circumstances, he could be comfortable imposing some limits on the practice. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family".

McCaskill's campaign did not comment on the political ramifications of Kennedy's resignation. He equated campaign finance laws with censorship, writing that "the First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves". His conservatism did not define his ideology, and Kennedy found himself casting the swing vote on an unusually high number of 5-4 decisions. Kennedy's successor is less likely than him to get in their way. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then it's only matter of time that a large swath of states ban the practice.

"At a time when the Court's legitimacy is jeopardized by the perception that the Court is, in effect, so many unaccountable politicians in robes the Court might approach Roe strategically", he said, "so as to avoid the perception that a centerpiece of the Court's jurisprudence is left to the vagaries of a single, very political appointment".

His departure puts the Supreme Court at a tipping point. In April 2017, Trump formally appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016, replacing one conservative justice with another and maintaining the basic balance of power on the court.

It could also create a lasting majority.