New reports this week suggest one 80-year-old justice is looking at retirement in June, giving President Trump the chance to appoint a second Supreme Court justice in one year.
Several reports out this week suggest Justice Anthony Kennedy, 80, is considering a retirement from the Supreme Court in June. If he retires, President Trump will have the chance to appoint a second Supreme Court justice in under one year in office.
CNN reported on Monday that conservatives are preparing for Kennedy’s possible retirement this June:
Sources close to the process say there have been discussions about potential replacements for Kennedy if the seat were to open up. Some of the names discussed include former clerks and others from Trump’s original list of 21 possible nominees he released during the campaign who might appeal to Kennedy.
Kennedy is closer to the center of the ideological spectrum than any other Supreme Court justice. Judicial Common Space puts him just left of center, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Kennedy is considered a conservative by some, though, and often votes the same as three more conservative justices (Roberts, Alito, Thomas). A Trump nominee would almost certainly solidify the court’s 5-4 conservative majority.
Of Trump’s finalists for the first vacancy, which went to Neil Gorsuch, all three would be right of Kennedy. Thomas Hardiman would be right of Kennedy but left of Roberts, while William Pryor and Raymond Kethledge would be right of Kennedy, Roberts, and Alito.
The Trump administration can expect smoother sailing on a second Supreme Court fight than the first, since the Senate invoked the so-called ‘nuclear option’ – to confirm Supreme Court justices with only 51 votes – after Democrats vowed to block Gorsuch.
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