Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring. Excerpt:
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, giving President Donald Trump the chance to cement conservative control of the high court.
The 81-year-old Kennedy said in a statement he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.
Kennedy said he has informed his colleagues and Trump of his plans, and that his retirement will take effect at the end of July.
Without him, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans. Trump’s nominee is likely to give the conservatives a solid majority and will face a Senate process in which Republicans hold the slimmest majority, but Democrats can’t delay confirmation.
Kennedy has been a moderate voice on the Court. President Trump’s appointee will almost certainly be a strict-constructionist like his first appointee Neal Gorsuch. That will tip the Court for some time to come, forcing the liberal judges into a strict minority.
Look for a deafening RHEEEEEE when the President announces his pick, no matter who that person is.