Let the mourning begin . . .
With Kennedy gone, the Court’s decisions on issues where he’s a down-the-line conservative — like campaign finance and corruption, most business regulation and voting cases, gun rights, religious liberty, etc. — likely won’t change. There’s already a 5-4 conservative majority on those, so conservative rulings like the ones Kennedy wrote or joined in DC v. Heller, Citizens United, or Hobby Lobby will continue apace.
What will change are rulings on issues where Kennedy has helped maintain a shaky 5-4 center-left consensus. Because of the court’s longstanding principle of stare decisis, or obeying past precedent barring a compelling reason not to do so, some liberal Court achievements are likely to stay.
Letter from Justice Kennedy announcing the news: pic.twitter.com/3JzlqI8amZ
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 27, 2018
Kennedy’s decision to retire gives Trump the opportunity to move the court farther to the right. He’s been angling for the opportunity for many months, randomly releasing an updated “short list” of 25 potential nominees in November. Among the leading contenders to replace Kennedy is Brett Kavanaugh, a former Kennedy clerk and judge on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, a court that has been the stepping stone for three sitting Supreme Court justices. Appointed by President George W. Bush, Kavanaugh earned his spot on the DC Circuit after working for Ken Starr investigating President Bill Clinton’s relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky and preparing an impeachment case against Clinton. At 53, Kavanaugh is, like Gorsuch, young enough to influence the court for decades to come.
THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED! As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY. We need more Republicans in 2018 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
While it is not unusual for presidents to appoint supreme court justices with similar ideological leanings, Trump’s comments all but reinforced that he is unlikely to nominate a consensus pick if provided the opportunity. In November, the president updated his shortlist of candidates for a hypothetical vacancy, adding to a roster of proven judicial conservatives.
I think immortality should be granted to only one person ever and that person is Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
— Maris Kreizman (@mariskreizman) June 27, 2018
In a stunning development, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his impending retirement from the nation’s highest court on Wednesday. His retirement will be effective at the end of July, throwing a large portion of the country into despair at the the thought of Donald Trump getting a second SCOTUS nomination.
Me: Today HAS to be better than yesterday.
Supreme Court: Hold my gavel
— Reading Fan (@readingfan4life) June 27, 2018
Believe it or not, I’m pretty sure this is actually the worst thing that’s happened so far.
— Evan DeSimone (@Smorgasboredom) June 27, 2018
Justice Kennedy stepping down so that Trump can scramble to fill his seat is the moral equivalent of punching the arc of history in the face.
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) June 27, 2018
— Mike uǝɥoƆ 🏳️🌈 (@sutrofog) June 27, 2018
Remember when @brianstelter said we were a looong way from the Handmaid’s Tale? Trump getting to replace Justice Kennedy on the SCOTUS pushes us ever closer.
Goodbye reproductive rights, hello religious intrusions in our govt, healthcare, life, bodies. pic.twitter.com/tEf7s8ReiS
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) June 27, 2018
— Hollyn Heron (@HollynHeron) June 27, 2018
Oh just reading some of my favorite poetry pic.twitter.com/Oh3ui8ikNL
— Chris _ _ Richards (@Chris__Richards) June 27, 2018