Federal Courts and Nominations

RELEASE: Kennedy Retirement Places Legacy at Mercy of President Trump

The stakes in the upcoming battle over Justice Kennedy’s replacement on the Supreme Court could not be higher.

WASHINGTON—On news of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s impending retirement, Constitutional Accountability Center President Elizabeth Wydra issued the following reaction:

The stakes in the upcoming battle over Justice Kennedy’s replacement on the Supreme Court could not be higher. He has been the single vote preventing the Court from overturning Roe v. Wade; the single vote ensuring that LGBTQ couples have the right to marry; the single vote ensuring that universities can create diverse student bodies through race-conscious admissions programs; and many more.

Justice Kennedy has been a conservative Justice, no doubt. But now that McConnell and his allies in the Senate have destroyed the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominations in order to get now-Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench—a threshold designed to ensure that a nominee could garner broad support before ascending to a position as crucial as a life-tenured seat on the Supreme Court—this vacancy could usher in a nominee far worse than Justice Gorsuch. Someone even more in Trump’s own image.

Justice Kennedy has put his legacy at the mercy of President Trump today. Worse, however, is what that portends for the rest of the nation.

If President Trump is able to build his own Supreme Court after Justice Kennedy’s retirement—with a new Justice willing to give approval to policies based on prejudiced or authoritarian impulses, with another Justice sympathetic to his claims of being above the law—and the Senate is unwilling to stand up to such a potential nominee, then myriad rights and freedoms that all in America have come to take for granted will be at risk of being lost for decades.



“Justice Kennedy, don’t abandon your legacy,” Elizabeth Wydra, CNN, May 8, 2017: https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/08/opinions/dont-retire-kennedy-opinio-wydra/index.html


Now in our tenth year, Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit the new CAC website at www.theusconstitution.org.


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