Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced on Wednesday that he will retire by the end of July, opening up a spot for President Donald Trump to choose another SCOTUS nominee.
“It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court,” said the 81 year old Kennedy in a statement. He said that he wanted to spend more time with his family and his retirement will be effective by July 31, according to USA Today.
As a Ronald Reagan appointee, Kennedy served as a swing vote for many years, helping to radically reshape the court on issues such as abortion and affirmative action. His lasting legacy will most likely be in the area of LGBTQ+ rights. In 2015, Kennedy penned Obergefell v. Hodges, which was the landmark decision to allow same-sex marriage nationwide, according to the Wall Street Journal.
He has been known to side with liberals on key issues, except as CNNreports campaign finance, gun control, and voting.
His departure is expected to create an epic political battle in the Senate for his seat. Trump will have a second opportunity to shift the court right for some time. As of right now, the Supreme Court is split between four liberals and four republicans. According to Politico, Trump reportedly plans to fill Kennedy’s spot immediately, and has said that he plans to choose from a list of 25 potential nominees.
The nomination will mostly be battle on Capitol Hill as it come just one year after Republicans changed the rules of the Senate in order to push Trump’s first Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch in, CNN Reports. His departure could also mean the end to some very important policies passed such as Roe vs. Wade
Without Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, women’s reproductive freedom and the fate of Roe v. Wade now swing in the balance at the whim of Donald J. Trump.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 27, 2018
According to Politico, the front runner for the seat is Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
As of right now, Trump has said that he hopes to fill the seat before sessions start up in October and before the November midterm elections.