Published: Sun, July 01, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Trump to pick new Supreme Court justice as Kennedy retires

Trump to pick new Supreme Court justice as Kennedy retires

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's now longest-serving member and second-oldest justice, announced on Wednesday that he is retiring.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday secured a historic chance to shift the US Supreme Court decisively to the right as Justice Anthony Kennedy, the tie-breaking vote between the bench's liberal and conservative judges, announced he is to retire.

Kennedy joined conservatives in the majority to hold that corporate donations to political campaigns are protected by the First Amendment.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement after holding his position for more than 30 years.

So the stakes for this next Supreme Court nomination are enormous.

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It's possible that, this time, he wants to make more of a splash.

The retirement could portend a showdown on Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision protecting abortion rights, said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor. Planned Parenthood, in which the Supreme Court ruled that states can not place an "undue burden" on patients seeking abortion. These have included bills that ban abortion after a certain number of weeks, require patients to go through a waiting period or listen to their fetus's heartbeat, or enact restrictions on abortion clinics that have forced many to shut down. He often sided with the liberal justices on social issues, such as the legalization of gay marriage in 2017 and a decision in 1992 that reaffirmed Roe v. Wade.

Remaking this area of jurisprudence is a top priority for conservative activists, many of whom have the ear of the President has he selects his nominee.

The case has been central to the Trump administration's immigration policy, presenting a key test of the president's campaign promise to restrict immigration and secure America's borders.

Reproductive rights advocates fear that a Supreme Court with five conservative justices will be more likely to uphold such laws if they come before the court.

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Both McConnell and Grassley praised Kennedy's service on the high court. Garland was ultimately never confirmed or even put up for a vote by McConnell, which he boasted about to constituents at an August 2016 event in Kentucky. "Senator McConnell would tell anyone who listened that the Senate had the right to advise and consent, and that was every bit as important as the president's right to nominate". Ted Cruz called the moment to replace Kennedy an "opportunity" for Republicans, who have the majority in the Senate, to choose someone who represents their values.

The test has become a key factor in cases addressing abortion in the years since - including in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, another closely argued decision released almost a decade and a half later.

Additionally, he wrote a 2015 concurrence denouncing solitary confinement, and also provided the pivotal votes in cases having do to with California's overcrowded prison system that released thousands of prisoners.

In that 5-3 decision - delivered by a shorthanded court just months after Scalia's death in 2016 - justices in the majority relied on the undue burden test to strike down a Texas law limiting abortion availability. The quality of Trump's thinking about matters juridical can be gauged by his remark, during a Republican candidates debate, that his sister, a federal judge, was so conservative she had signed a "bill" that Justice Samuel Alito had signed.

Cases dealing with abortion and contraception are the most likely healthcare cases to be affected by Kennedy's retirement, Tim Jost, JD, emeritus professor of law at Washington & Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia., said in a phone interview. Let's say what that is "It is an obvious and frankly cynical ploy to try to provide cover for a decision that is a betrayal of constitutional rights and values that were similarly rejected in the Korematsu case".

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