Fortunes for President Trump and his administration continue to improve as it appears he will be given the chance to select a candidate to fill the second Supreme Court vacancy under his tenure, USA Today reports, as Justice Anthony Kennedy has delivered the news that he will retire from his post at the end of next month.
With Kennedy's departure, this affords President Trump his second opportunity to put forth a solidly conservative candidate, having already successfully nominated Justice Neil Gorsuch to the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
In decisions made in the last 48 hours by the Supreme Court, Trump's travel ban was upheld in a 5-4 split in addition to a decision made to deny public sector labor unions the right to collect union dues from non-unionized workers under their jurisdiction with the same 5-4 result, according to CNN. This newest development pertinent to the make-up of the highest court in the United States spells out a likelihood that President Trump will nominate another conservative voice to the vacant post, which is an alarming eventuality for Democrats, according to USA Today.
Kennedy first told his colleagues of the decision and then personally delivered a succinct letter to President Trump, headed: "My dear Mr. President."
My dear Mr. President,
This letter is a respectful and formal notification of my decision, effective July 31 of this year, to end my regular active status as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, while continuing to serve in a senior status, as provided in 28 U.S.C 371 (b).
For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court. Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret, and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.
Respectfully and sincerely,
Minutes later, President Trump would mention to media present in the Oval Office that he would be acting "immediately" to select someone from a list of just over two dozen nominees that had been vetted by his administration and several other associations.
The president was quick to thank Justice Kennedy for his lifetime of service to his country during his remarks.
"Justice Kennedy will be retiring... he is a man that I've known for a long time and a man that I've respected for a long time. He's been a great Justice of the Supreme Court... a man who has displayed tremendous vision and tremendous heart, and he will be missed... We will begin our search for a new Justice of the United States Supreme Court that will begin immediately... and hopefully we will pick someone who has been as outstanding." President Trump said in his brief remarks on the matter.
While Justice Kennedy was considered by most to be a somewhat conservative member of the Supreme Court, replacing him with a young candidate could ensure a conservative majority on the bench for quite some time. He was often considered a swing vote, however, and had lent his voice in support of liberal rulings on matters concerning abortion, same-sex marriage, affirmative action, and the death penalty. Vox calls the retiring Justice Kennedy a "champion for LGBTQ rights across the US."
Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire at the age of 82 – he is currently 81 and will have a birthday on July 23, a week before his retirement takes effect – having served in his current capacity for just over three decades. Justice Kennedy was nominated by former Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and was sworn in on February 11, 1988.