'Tradition' may determine when Kennedy steps down

Monday, March 12, 2018
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

SCOTUS Justice Anthony KennedyIt's been the subject of rumors and news articles for over a year, but one organization believes Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire this year.

Talk of the 81-year-old associate Supreme Court justice retiring re-entered the news cycle late last week when Politico published an article on Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada) forecasting an imminent high court vacancy.

"Kennedy is going to retire around sometime early summer," Heller predicted in Las Vegas earlier this month, according to audio of an event he spoke at that was obtained by Politico.

Phillip Jauregui, president of Judicial Action Group, a 501(c)4 non-profit organization working towards judicial renewal and an agenda to address judicial activism, thinks Kennedy will retire soon.

"I think Justice Kennedy would like to follow tradition, and that is a justice leaves during a presidential administration of the same party that appointed him," Jauregui tells OneNewsNow.

Kennedy, currently the longest-sitting justice on the court (30 years), was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and began his service on the high court in February 1988. He is the only current justice to be confirmed by a unanimous vote in the Senate.


"The problem is right now Republicans only have 51 Senate seats," Jauregui continues. "If they lose control of the Senate in the elections this coming November, then Kennedy wouldn't be able to leave because it's almost certain that Democrats would not confirm any Supreme Court nominee as payback for what the Republicans did during in the last year of President Obama's administration."

So leaving sometime between the end of the Supreme Court's term in June and the November election would be the time in which Kennedy would retire, giving Republicans the opportunity to confirm a nominee regardless of what happens in the midterm election.

In light of that time table, Jauregui conjectures on the timing of such an announcement by Kennedy.

"It's possible he might announce his retirement, perhaps in April, to give the White House time to circulate names, to come up with a name, [and] to have that name ready so that immediately when a vacancy occurs a nominee is cued up," he continues.

"If it's going to happen, the White House will be working with Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and they would get their schedules together and be ready to roll to get this done quickly during the summer, if it happens – and I think it will."

For months, President Trump has had a list of names for potential Supreme Court picks.

"He added five names to that list back on November 17 of last year, just a couple months ago, so he has a list of 25 now," says Jauregui. "Some are incredible; some are not so good. There are some that we definitely don't want, either because we know they're not good or because we don't know enough about them."

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