Who Will Replace Justice Anthony Kennedy?
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At eighty-one year old, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy‘s tenure spanned six presidential administrations, is the longest term of any sitting Justices. On June 27, 2018, he announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, effective July 31. He has been a centrist moderating force for many cases. His position has been that of a pragmatic libertarian, emphasizing individual rights and freedom. His courtly presence will be missed and his future replacement will determine much of the direction of our court system in generations to come. Justice Kennedy’s retirement has sparked the political battle over when the confirmation of his successor should take place. Democrats believe that Republican should wait until after the November election in following the precedent Republican set in 2016.
(The panelists discussed the impact of the announcement, including Kennedy’s legacy and potential replacements, in the video below:)
President Reagan nominated Kennedy to the Supreme Court. Kennedy won unanimous confirmation from the United States Senate in February 1988. Kennedy became the most senior Associate Justice of the Court following the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016. Justice Kennedy has authored the majority opinion in several important cases, including Boumediene v. Bush and Citizens United v. FEC. Kennedy wrote in part the majority opinions in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. He is also notable for his majority opinions in each of the Court’s landmark gay rights cases: Romer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor, and Obergefell v. Hodges. He is the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was nominated to the court in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan, and sworn in on February 18, 1988. Since the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor in 2006, he has been the swing vote on many of the Roberts Court‘s 5–4 decisions. Most likely, the Supreme Court will have a more conservative tilt when Justice Kennedy’s replacement will be selected and decided.
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