The 81-year-old Kennedy announced his retirement today, which means that President Trump will get the chance to nominate yet another conservative member of the court.
Kennedy had been a justice for over 30 years, having been introduced during the Reagan administration, but since he has been known as the moderate swing decision in cases, the Democrats have found themselves in an unfortunate situation.
Born and raised in an Irish Catholic family in Sacremento, California, Kennedy was the son of Anthony J. Kennedy, an attorney with a reputation for influence in the California legislature, and Gladys (née McLeod), who participated in many local civic activities.
“It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court,” Kennedy stated. He further went on to say that he wants to be with his family more and that he will be officially leaving on July 31.
Trump told reporters that he has sought recommendations from Kennedy as to who could replace him, but he did not say that the justice responded as of late. His successor will be picked from a list of potential nominees that Trump had begun circulating around the 2016 election.
Considering that when Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch, a former Kennedy clerk, after a tough fight in the Senate where the GOP blocked Obama’s appointee, Merrick Garland, for months, it is safe to say that the Democrats will try to put up a big fight as well this time around.
While it is unknown who Trump could pick, there are a few top contenders that will almost certainly be considered.
D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh, for one, was a former lawyer in the Bush administration’s White House counsel’s office. He has been on two lists of potential nominees that Trump released in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
According to Politico, Other possible choices range from 7th Circuit Judge Amy Barrett, 11th Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom, Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick, and many others.