You are here

Supreme Court's last day notable for what was and wasn't said

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

By Leslie Hanson

If Kennedy does retire, that means President Donald Trump would be able to nominate a second justice to the bench.

Justice Anthony Kennedy hasn't said when he's retiring, or whether he might announce his decision on the last day of the court's current term, but rumors that the soon to be 81-year-old judge is stepping down are swirling.

The Supreme Court is letting a limited version of President Donald Trump's ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries take effect, a victory for Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

The Supreme Court did not act on President Donald Trump's travel ban in a list of orders issued at 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

The first casualty of Trump's election was Garland, the appellate judge whom President Barack Obama nominated to the high court.

Kennedy already hired a clerk for the upcoming term as well as the term after that, according to the Supreme Court blog.

He sided with his liberal colleagues on gay rights and abortion rights. Only four justices have died while sitting on the bench since 1950.

'That is totally Justice Kennedy's decision and he has served for 30 years, nearly 30 years, with distinction and care on the Court and that is entirely his decision, ' she said on Fox & Friends.

"As the court's most important Justice - at the center of the institution's ideological balance - Justice Kennedy's ability to bridge the divide between left and right on critical issues such as the right to access abortion cannot be overstated", said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center to CNN Monday.

Gorsuch wrote separately from the court's majority opinion seven times in less than three months, the same number of such opinions Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her first two years on the court, University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck noted on Twitter.

Like no other justice in recent history, Kennedy has cast the vital swing vote in cases that grab the countries' attention.

The justices will hear full arguments in the October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissent joined by Ginsburg, said the decision profoundly changed the church-state relationship "by holding, for the first time, that the Constitution requires the government to provide public funds directly to a church".

Another is a case pitting religious liberty against LGBT issues. Garland's ascension to the court might have reduced Kennedy's sway.

For another term, at least, the court will go only as far right or left as Kennedy is willing.