Rumors are circulating Washington DC that Anthony Kennedy, who has been sometimes a conservative, sometimes a liberal on the Supreme Court, is about ready to announce his retirement. He is 81 years old, and the second oldest Justice on the high court. Only Ruth Bader Ginsburg is older (she’s 84).
Apparently, Kennedy has pushed up a reunion with his former law clerks from next year to this year, and that sparked speculation that he may be wanting to step down soon. That would give Donald Trump his second high court pick, and would most assuredly would move the court firmly to the right.
What would be interesting as well is that you look at the two other people that were born in the 1930’s that are currently on the court, and you wonder when they are going to leave. We mentioned Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has been rumored for years to be on her last legs, but refuses to retire. In fact, there were a lot of folks on the left that wanted her to retire while Obama was president so he could appoint a liberal to her seat on the bench. That didn’t happen. Now, at 84, she’s the oldest Justice on the high court, and her age is starting to show (she slept through Obama’s state of the union speech a few years back, remember?).
The other person to watch is going to be Stephen Breyer. He is turning 81 in August, and is no spring chicken. That would leave another liberal seat on the bench open to be flipped to the conservatives. And if you look at the conservatives on the court today, John Roberts is in his early 60’s (born in 1955), Clarence Thomas is 69, Samuel Alito is 67, and Neil Gorsuch is 50. If you take Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer out of the equation, that will give the conservatives a 7-2 majority with only Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan as the only two liberals on the bench. Both of them are young…Sotomayor is 63 and Kagan is just 57.
With a 7-2 majority, and IF Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer all retire in the next three years, you are going to see a humungous change in the makeup of the court. That would be something pretty rare indeed…and it’s extremely rare that a sitting president would get four, count ‘em, four Supreme Court nominations in the first term…but it could very well happen!
That is something worth watching in the coming weeks as the Supreme Court has six more cases to decide this term before they go dark for the summer. And if rumors in DC are true…and we all know they ALWAYS are…replacing a “sometime conservative” in Kennedy, with one of the 11 left on Trump’s list he shared during the election, would drive the snowflakes wild!
Gonna be fun to watch, dontcha think?
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!