The word around town is that Donald Trump will soon be naming another SCOTUS nominee as Justice Kennedy plans on retirement after this session, which ends this month.
Kennedy and his clerks were gathering over the weekend for a reunion that was pushed up a year and helped spark talk he might be leaving the court.
SCOTUS enters its final week of work before a long summer hiatus this week and some clerks are saying Kennedy might use the court’s last public session on Monday to announce his retirement. He turns 81 next month and has been on the court for nearly 30 years.
It would give give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first 7 months of his administration.
Kennedy’s departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court.
Of course, there are some reasons to think he might stay a bit longer. Justice Kennedy recently hired one clerk for 2018: Clayton Kozinski, son of prominent Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski who clerked for Justice Kennedy back when he was Judge Kennedy of the Ninth Circuit.
Chicago’s WGN9 reports:
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the man who so often determines the outcome of the most controversial Supreme Court cases, is himself the center of brewing speculation.
Will he stay or will he go?
The rumors have swirled for months and the 80-year-old justice has done nothing either personally or though intermediaries to set the record straight on whether he will step down.
Helping drive the speculation, dozens of Kennedy’s former clerks are traveling to Washington to participate in a private clerk reunion that occurs regularly — and many of them wonder if it will be their last chance to meet with him while he is still on the bench.
Sources close to Kennedy say that he is seriously considering retirement, but they are unclear if it could occur as early as this term.
I guess we have to just wait and see as it is all speculation. “Soon we’ll know if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate,” one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, said on Twitter Friday.
The news cycle in 2017: I am now tweeting about a Drudge banner that links to a story about speculation that quotes one of my tweets. pic.twitter.com/qmigtvCyYW
— Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) June 24, 2017
If Kennedy were to delay his retirement for a year, his replacement would face confirmation during the mid-term election year. Most SCOTUS Justices have tried hard to avvoid such political implications in the past.
Why is Kennedy so important? Like no other justice in recent history, Kennedy has cast the vital swing vote in many cases that have grabbed the nation’s attention.
“As the court’s most important Justice — at the center of the institution’s ideological balance — Justice Kennedy’s ability to bridge the divide between left and right on critical issues such as the right to access abortion cannot be overstated,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center. “Replacing Justice Kennedy with a Trump nominee would almost certainly sound the death knell for Roe, just as candidate Trump promised during the 2016 campaign.”
Replacing Kennedy could be the first step to securing a conservative SCOTUS for many years to come. There is also a good chance that Ginsburg, at 84, is not far behind, although she still does push-ups twice a week…
And Breyer is 79.
If Trump were to able to replace those two liberal judges, liberals would riot. #JustSayin’
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