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Trump gets to fill another Supreme Court seat: Justice Anthony Kennedy is Retiring

Trump gets to fill another Supreme Court seat: Justice Anthony Kennedy is Retiring

President Reagan nominated Kennedy, who took his oath in 1988.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has told President Donald Trump that he will retire effective July 31, 2018.

*This is a breaking story. Stay tuned for more information.

Here is his profile on the Supreme Court website:

Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice, was born in Sacramento, California, July 23, 1936. He married Mary Davis and has three children. He received his B.A. from Stanford University and the London School of Economics, and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School. He was in private practice in San Francisco, California from 1961–1963, as well as in Sacramento, California from 1963–1975. From 1965 to 1988, he was a Professor of Constitutional Law at the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. He has served in numerous positions during his career, including a member of the California Army National Guard in 1961, the board of the Federal Judicial Center from 1987–1988, and two committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States: the Advisory Panel on Financial Disclosure Reports and Judicial Activities, subsequently renamed the Advisory Committee on Codes of Conduct, from 1979–1987, and the Committee on Pacific Territories from 1979–1990, which he chaired from 1982–1990. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1975. President Reagan nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat February 18, 1988.

Kennedy, though a conservative, was generally thought of as the swing vote on the Court. He sided with his liberal counterparts on issues like abortion and gay marriage. He wrote the opinion for the Obergefell v Hodges case in 2015 that overturned the ban on gay marriage.

Democrats not happy:

More than likely Trump will pick a justice that will make the court lean more conservative as he vowed in the past “to pick nominees who are in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.” Leonard Leo, the outside advisor to the President for Judicial Nominations said:

“President Trump’s list of potential nominees for this vacancy includes many of the very best judges in America, judges who have records of being fair and independent and applying the Constitution as it was written. I expect the nominee to be like Justice Gorsuch, to demonstrate excellence in every respect, and to earn widespread support from the American people, and bipartisan support for confirmation in the Senate.”

The White House website has Trump’s SCOTUS list. A few prominent names are Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Judge Don Willett, a United States Circuit Judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Ed Whelan, the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, thinks Trump will pick his nominee next month, which gives the Senate Judiciary Committee time to have a hearing in August since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) canceled all but a week of the August recess. A vote could happen in September and that would give us a new justice in time for the next term in October.

Looks like McConnell had that in mind:

Judicial Crisis Network has launched the campaign #AnotherGreatJustice targeted at liberal senators.

[Featured image via Wikimedia Commons]


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G. de La Hoya | June 27, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Professor Jacobson by chance? 🙂

    Gremlin1974 in reply to G. de La Hoya. | June 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    He has my vote.

    Bisley in reply to G. de La Hoya. | June 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    I would suggest Cruz, or Lee. Both are wasting their time in the Senate, since they are too few to have much effect on anything, and despised by the party leadership.

    Their talents shouldn’t be allowed to go to waste, and if they stay in the Senate for long, they will eventually fall in with the game and become worthless. Either would make a good justice, or any number of other things — Trump should put them to good use.


UnCivilServant | June 27, 2018 at 2:18 pm

I almost need a grin-ectomy today from all the good news from the courts.

We might get someone who can consistantly follow the constitution as a replacement. (I still have no idea where some of Kennedy’s decisions emerged from)

    Massinsanity in reply to UnCivilServant. | June 27, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    The only way it could be better is if it were Ginsburg.

      regulus arcturus in reply to Massinsanity. | June 27, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      Dershowitz just said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Ginsburg retire next, shortly.

      American Human in reply to Massinsanity. | June 27, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Hasn’t Ginsberg been fighting some sort of cancer?

        The Friendly Grizzly in reply to American Human. | June 27, 2018 at 3:45 pm

        Yes, and has been remarkably tough. Pardon the pun, but she has quite a constitution.

        Actually, Notorious RBG has had TWO types of cancer, and an arterial Stent:

        – 1999 – Colon Cancer – Removal surgery, then Chemo and Radiation (did not miss a day on the bench)

        – 2009 – Pancreatic Cancer – Surgical removal of small tumor. No time missed on the bench

        – November 2014 – right coronary artery Stent

        She (to this day, as far as I know) trains twice weekly with Bryant Johnson, a former Army reservist attached to the Special Forces at the Justices Only Gym at the Supreme Court (yes, they have their own Gym).

        I’ve said this before: Justice Ginsburg is going to die at her DESK, and they’ll have to pry her cold, dead hands off of it to get her out of the building. I will be shocked if she ever retires.

      amwick in reply to Massinsanity. | June 27, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      I just checked… she is more than three years older than Justice Kennedy.. not that it should matter.. but she doesn’t look conscious.

    casualobserver in reply to UnCivilServant. | June 27, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I guess Trump would say it like this, “You can’t handle all of this winning….”

This is a good day. Adios Kennedy. You were a major disappointment. May your seat be filled by an actual conservative.

    Arminius in reply to Observer. | June 27, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Cam we at least give him credit for timing his exit?

      txvet2 in reply to Arminius. | June 27, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      You mean we can’t give him credit for being on the right side of every major decision this year? I know he’s backslid a lot over the years, but he’s going out with a bang.

        Edward in reply to txvet2. | June 27, 2018 at 3:35 pm

        If you were a Mom and Pop internet business trying to find software to calculate sales tax for over 2,000 taxing entities that you could afford and stay in business, you might not agree with being on the right side of every major decision this year.

          txvet2 in reply to Edward. | June 27, 2018 at 6:25 pm

          Well, after all, that decision was a pretty mixed bag. IIRC, Thomas was on the “wrong” side of that one, too, and a couple of “leftist” judges were on the “right” side. I think they were as confused as a lot of us were.

    Arminius in reply to Observer. | June 27, 2018 at 3:13 pm


healthguyfsu | June 27, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Kennedy had some bad moments that are inexcusable, but he wasn’t a Sotomayor or Ginsburg. At least, he had some principles, even if they didn’t align with ours.

So…new Justice by November?

4th armored div | June 27, 2018 at 2:30 pm

if Cruz or Lee were nominated I would be happy.

    I wouldn’t, because I don’t want to roll the dice and get another Romney in the Senate. Anyway, Cruz isn’t on the short list, and a lot of good choices are, including Don Willett.

      Tom Servo in reply to txvet2. | June 27, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      Yes, Willett would be my top pick. But as you say, there are others as well. A strong conservative female justice would be an interesting pick, given the political circumstances.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Tom Servo. | June 27, 2018 at 4:48 pm

        After doing some more research my fav is Margaret Ryan. She has a 99% Heritage score, Marine Corps for 12 years and was a Clerked for Thomas for a year.

Kennedy’s a bit of a flibbergibbit, nowhere near as erratic as O’Connor in her heyday, but at least not all bad news. Just don’t replace him with another Roberts.

Breyer is the one we need to get out of there, though he’s nowhere near as nutzoid as Stevens became near the end.

The women are useless, and will stay that way. Fruitcakes and totalitarians all.

Colonel Travis | June 27, 2018 at 2:38 pm

So long, sucker!

Expect the proggie outrage machine to go into full meltdown mode in 3….2…1…..

They’ll demand that the Senate Dims filibuster the confirmation of any nomination until after the midterms.

    I don’t think the count made it pas 1…they have been melting down all week.

      Bucky Barkingham in reply to Leslie Eastman. | June 27, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      IIRC Dingy Harry eliminated Senate filibuster of SCOTUS nominees. Thank you Dingy Harry!

        Dingy Harry eliminated filibuster for all except SCOTUS picks. Mitch McConnell eliminated it for SCOTUS appointments.

          MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to Edward. | June 27, 2018 at 3:55 pm

          True. But the ONLY reason Dingy Harry did not eliminate the filibuster rule for SCOTUS nominees was because there were no SCOTUS openings at the time. It wasn’t a principled stance.

          smalltownoklahoman in reply to Edward. | June 27, 2018 at 4:34 pm

          Yup, if there ever was an opportunity to steamroll Dem opposition and really stick it to them this would be it!

      Massinsanity in reply to Leslie Eastman. | June 27, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Every time Harry’s name comes up I immediately wonder if we will ever learn who gave him that beat down.


        Does anybody know if there was ever any discovery in that lawsuit? That should have been a hoot and a holler.

        (btw – I’m inclined to think it was the wise-guys that got hosed on one of his shady land deals).

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Paul. | June 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    So would that make this a “stolen seat” as well?

    MarkS in reply to Paul. | June 27, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    Am I mistaken or did McConnell go Nuclear when the Dems wanted to jerk Gorsuch around?

Ruth Buzzy may now give it up as well. With Kennedy leaving the count will now become dependably 5-4. Almost as a certainty. The swing stuff is gone. She may look at Trump’s popularity, the general upbeat tenor of the country for his policies, and say, “What’s the point?” What should do it for her will be the results in November. If the Ds lose even more, look for her to pack it in.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to fscarn. | June 27, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Oh, please. The coroner will have to pry her dead hands from around that seat.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Gremlin1974. | June 27, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      I think she’s a cyborg at this point. Unfortunately for her, she was made by a Steyer affiliate and goes into sleep mode from lack of energy far too often.

    tom_swift in reply to fscarn. | June 27, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    No, pure distilled hostility will keep RBG going. I expect her to show up for at least a week even after she’s clinically dead.

I sure hope there is not a toxic level of schadenfreude, as I may O.D. if there is.

Anybody remember the other names on his short list?

NavyMustang | June 27, 2018 at 3:05 pm

The confirmation process promises to be an EPIC battle.

Bitterlyclinging | June 27, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Waiting for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s announcement. Unfortunately, I understand, she does not sleep with a pillow over her face like we were lead to believe some of the other justices on the court did.
Baracky Obammunist so desperately wanted to notch another Supreme Court judge onto his legacy’s belt.
Merrick who?

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Bitterlyclinging. | June 27, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Merrick Garland. During his leisure times, he goes to a local night club where they have open mic night. He dresses in drag and sings Over the Rainbow, The Trolley Song, and The Man Who Got Away.

Schumer is probably right now in the basement of the Democrat Party headquarters looking over the Bork Smear Machine, wondering if it’ll still work.

“Well, get some of these cobwebs off of it, give it a wash and little polish, it should be ragin’ to go.”

“Maybe, Chuck, but I think the old Bork Smear Machine is now just a clunker. The internet lets the right get the truth out there and to fight back. Old Ted Kennedy lived in the great days of being able to hide the truth with the help of the MSM. If the internet had been around in 1969 Ted wouldn’t have been able to survive Mary Jo’s death even in lefty, loony Massachusetts. And in 1987 Bork would have easily survived the MSM’s relentless attacks.”

    Massinsanity in reply to pfg. | June 27, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    They may a new and improved BSM… they trotted the old one out to smear Thomas but it failed.

    regulus arcturus in reply to pfg. | June 27, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Kennedy was the replacement pick after Bork got “Borked” if I recall…

A woman would be great. A black woman even better, or perhaps an Asian, male of female.

buckeyeminuteman | June 27, 2018 at 4:00 pm

All judges, senators and congressmen should take a hint from Justice Kennedy and retire before their twilight. Half-dead justices and senators who hang on to make political statements really get in the way of progress. I’m looking at you Thurmond, McCain and Ginsburg.

casualobserver | June 27, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Camera-shy Schumer (humor) wasted no time standing up in front of the Senate to declare there “can be no vote until after the election…”

The sting of the Merritt Garland nomination seems still to be just a strong as the “What happened??” Clinton loss.

    I hate to be on the same side as Schumer on anything, but given the makeup of the Senate, it might be easier after the election to get a conservative confirmed than before. It’s entirely possible that they will have 2-3 more seats in hand, not even counting a sane replacement for McCain.

      derf in reply to txvet2. | June 27, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      Can’t risk it.


      A.) it’s a risk.

      B.) See A.

      C.) putting a ~SECOND~ CONSERVATIVE SCOTUS jurist on the bench in less than 2 years: GOLD in motivating TRUMP Republicans as the base to come out and VOTE.

      Trump tells them: “Look, I’m DELIVERING on my promises to you: Taxes, Supremes, cutting regulations. Send me MORE Conservatives and let’s cut the Democrats and Progressives off at the knees and REALLY Make America Great Again!”

      murkyv in reply to txvet2. | June 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      Its sounding like the “McCain seat” is going to stay in the family.

      Cindy will likely be farther left than Juan, and will no doubt continue the obstruction of anything Trump

OleDirtyBarrister | June 27, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Damn, this is shaping up to be a good week because it is such a bad week for my marxist enemies.

I laugh at your pain and tread in the puddles formed by your tears.

I doubt there will be an epic battle. Lots of huffing and puffing from the Dems, but ultimately, they don’t have the seats to slow down, much less stall, the nomination.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to bigskydoc. | June 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Never put it past John McShame to cause trouble to get his face in the papers.

      MarkS in reply to Gremlin1974. | June 27, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      He’s still pissed about Trump calling out his faux hero status during the campaign

        Sen. McCain may be DEAD before they get to a vote on a SCOTUS nominee.

        McCain has not voted in the Senate since December 2017, instead opting to remain in Arizona to undergo cancer treatment. On April 15, 2018, he underwent surgery for an infection relating to diverticulitis and the following day was reported to be in stable condition.

        Glioblastoma average survival time is approximately 14 months. He was diagnosed On July 14, 2017 with a Stage 4 case, which they treated the FIRST Tumor, and had a SECOND tumor in the same place 6 weeks later. That is REALLY aggressive. Assuming he lives the ~average~ time, his expiration date is in mid September this year.

    stevewhitemd in reply to bigskydoc. | June 27, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    McCain is not voting; so it’s now 50-49. If Flake decides not to support the nominee it’s a problem.

    I wonder if it might be easier after the mid-terms; I really, really don’t see the Dems getting control of the Senate. My best guess is that the Pubs pick up a few seats there.

    Here’s a potential game for Trump — pull a Garland of sorts and nominate a slightly more moderate conservative now. Then tell Schumer that if they defeat this one and the Pubs do indeed pick up seats, the NEXT nominee will be a full-throated, crimson conservative. That would be a fascinating proposition to watch.

      regulus arcturus in reply to stevewhitemd. | June 27, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      Yep, so both AZ senators are effectively non-existent in a critical vote, which is why I’ve been pressuring both to resign.

      McCain should’ve stepped aside immediately after his diagnosis.


    Othniel in reply to bigskydoc. | June 27, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    What if McCain or Flake flake out on this?

Jonah Goldberg, David French and the rest of the #NverTrump girly men at National Review would have been far happier had Hillary won and had her chance to nominate her second Supreme Court justice, making the court 6-3 liberal. Yet, they claim to be principled “true consevatives.”

It’s a pity Janice Rogers Brown is too old for this nomination. That would really hurt the Dems.

smalltownoklahoman | June 27, 2018 at 4:27 pm

I don’t think we’ve had quite as exciting a week concerning the SC as this one for some time! All those wins and now Trump has a chance to replace another Justice? Maybe this weekend’s week in review post should be titled “Democrats and the 2nd most horrible, awful, no good, very bad week EVAH!” The first such week being Trump winning back in 2016 of course.

Another small note, I was hearing on the radio that an Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice may be on Trumps list of potential nominees. So who knows, maybe Pruitt will have another Okie to keep him company up there in the Capital before too much longer!

Gremlin1974 | June 27, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Personally I am hoping he will nominate one of the Conservative Women on the list, like Margaret Ryan or Joan Larson, possibly Allison Eid.

There are cases that could reverse Roe bubbling up through the courts. Assuming a real constitutionalist is confirmed, will all five votes stay on board to reverse Roe? Or will one of them go weak in the knees, a la Roberts and Obamacare?

I would feel better if ginsburg got a recall notice back to her master, the Father of Lies, and we’d see Roe reconsidered with six likely votes instead of 5.

And remember, breyer is also 81.

If President Trump stays the course, and appoints wisely and well, we could see a 7-2 majority for a very long time.

    txvet2 in reply to survivor. | June 27, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    The more immediate question with respect to RvW is, how are you going to get Murkowski and Collins to vote for a nominee who might vote to overturn it?

      Othniel in reply to txvet2. | June 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      This is my fear. That with the senate so close to an even split, some of the dems could peel off some of the RINOs like McCain (if he even shows up), Flake, Collins, Murkowski, etc.

      I don’t THINK we’ll lose the senate in November (in fact, I’d bet we’ll pick up a couple seats), but there is always that danger.

      So, I’m nervous.

    Valerie in reply to survivor. | June 27, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Roe v. Wade has a speed bump near the opening of the opinion. It is a little discussion about the consequences of a grant of power to the State, in our form of government. Such a grant is very hard to walk back, for one thing. For another, once the grant of power is made to intervene in a decision, there is no control over how that power may be used. That is, a grant of power to stop abortions is a grant of power to coerce abortions.

    The Roe v. Wade decision is cast so that, for an abortion to occur, the consent of the one person most affected, the mother, is required. Thus, each and every abortion decision is made on a case-by-case basis, the decision made by a particular human being. The decision does not prevent individuals to decide to have an abortion, but It prevents a wholesale slaughter of the innocents by the State.

    Roe v. Wade is biased toward life.

    When Roe v. Wade first issued, people insisted that “that could never happen here!!!!!” and then in a few years, we started hearing about China’s One Child policy, which led to the abortion of millions of children, and millions more girl babies than boy babies. This is how China got its current population imbalance.

    Pro-life people have their hearts in the right place, but they need to be very careful what they wish for, or they will obtain perverse results.

      txvet2 in reply to Valerie. | June 28, 2018 at 12:28 am

      A million murdered babies a year aren’t perverse results? Especially since the “mothers” are being fed government sponsored pro-abortion propaganda when they’re making a decision? When the biggest abortion mill was founded by a woman whose goal was the elimination of the American black population? You have a very strange concept of “perverse”.

Another Voice | June 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm

In the general election for president, it was in part the open seat for a Supreme Court Justice (credit McConnell) which drew in the conservative’s conservative vote for Pres. Trump.
I expect holding on to a conservative seat appointment could be the one calling card which will keep the tide rolling in come this Nov. when the polls open to elect the open Senatorial seats to elect a rep who will vote on a judge who actually reads and relies on the Constitution to oversee the courts.

BierceAmbrose | June 27, 2018 at 6:18 pm

Biden rule: delay the confirmation until after upcoming election.

Reid nuke: No filibuster for you.

Great fun when you are sure you are going to win. When the other guys win, well, the authors hate the new rules.

They chose … poorly.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to BierceAmbrose. | June 27, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    It’s almost like weaponizing Senate rules is a bad plan.

    I wonder how they’ll react when federal agencies they’ve weaponized, are weaponized on them, in turn.


BierceAmbrose | June 27, 2018 at 6:34 pm

Let’s see …

Kennedy resigns. Seat filled with constitutional constructionist from the short list before upcoming midterm. “How about we make laws by, you know, making laws” – crowd, euphoric, celebrates by backing the folks who made this happen. The Orange Crush’s party retains house, gains in senate, with national-level vote projections pointing to a landslide, were the presidential election held now.

D-party machinations to extend weaponization of administrative authorities into administrations they don’t head, still stymied, fails.

Kennedy resigns. D-party obstructionists successful in stalling filling vacancy until after midterm.

“How about we make laws by, you know, making laws” – crowd, furious(er), takes action by securing the majority party enough seats to, you know, do their work.

The Orange Crush’s party gains in house, gains in senate, with national-level vote projections pointing to a landslide, were the presidential election held now.

D-party machinations to extend weaponization of administrative authorities into administrations they don’t head, still stymied, fails.

Both cases:
The screeching, threats, work-arounds, extortion, rallying cries, actual rallying, and so on from the #resistance, so frightens, disturbs, and incenses the normals that the acid-bath erosion of D-party farm team and political infrastructure from President Obama’s persona-driven presence, and administrative inattention, continues. Now driven by acid from the outside: take them down because we have to … look what they do when they’re out, what do you think they’ll do if they get in?

Politics through governance further erodes asoperatives with bylines responsible for wrangling the zeitgeist beclown themselves into further irrelevance, while operatives in agencies get caught and removed because they’re not used to working without high cover.

I predict that the incumbent administration and majority party will manage an increasing tempo, per-event energy of provocation events, guiding the screechy-people on a steadily escalating trajectory of bat-guano crazy tantruming.

The crazy will just get crazier.
The kind of sane will get tired and drop off.
The normals watching will get offended and mobilized.

The idiot D’s have yet to grasp that after an “anybody but you” election, their strategy should be literally anything else, other than acting as crazy and dangerous as they possibly can.

BierceAmbrose | June 27, 2018 at 6:45 pm

There’s a weird pair of motives behind getting activist judges:

True believers want judges to do what the true believers believe, without all that bother about making laws, or adjusting the constitution. The failure of the ERA inspired a strategy of going around the laws, and the mechanisms for changing them. (Lady Thatcher’s admonition that: “First you win the argument, then you win the vote.” is utterly lost on them.)

Politicritters want judges to do the law making, so they don’t have to actually live by their positions on anything. Demagogue-ing gets hard when the President goes: “Yeah, it’s a problem. I just bought you six months to fix the law you made that makes that a problem.” Even worse when that photo of admin abuse turns out to be from your lightbringer’s administration … and you had nothing to say then.

It’s almost as if the issues aren’t issues to solve, but simply fodder to play for political advantage.

Naaaah. Can’t be.

Kennedy is aware of the timing consequences and decided now was the right time. We will never know if he talked to Trump first.