Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday, giving President Donald Trump a huge opportunity to replace yet another Supreme Court justice during his first term.
“My dear Mr. President,” Kennedy wrote to President Trump. “This letter is a respectful and formal notification of my decision, effective July 31 of this year, to end my regular active status as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, while continuing to serve in a senior status.”
He continued, “For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court. Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret, and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.”
The implications of another Trump-appointed justice for the Supreme Court are huge.
"Kennedy’s retirement will prompt the most ferocious confirmation battle of recent memory, as his departure under a Republican president places the right’s long-eluded Supreme Court majority within reach," the Daily Caller reported.
Planned Parenthood noted on Tuesday that the controversial Roe v. Wade decision could even be in jeopardy.
"If Kennedy retires under Trump, his 'replacement will be much likelier to join a decision overturning Roe v. Wade and giving states the ability to ban abortions as early as the first trimester,'" the abortion provider tweeted.
Further, NBC News reported Kennedy "profoundly shaped the court's rulings on gay rights, writing four of its most important decisions, including the landmark 2015 ruling that struck down bans nationwide on same-sex marriage," meaning future decisions on the issue could be impacted as well by Trump's pick.
Conservatives on Twitter were overjoyed by the development that could keep the Supreme Court more conservative for possibly decades.
Who should President Trump nominate to replace Justice Kennedy?