Justice Anthony Kennedy surprisingly announced his retirement at the end of the term for the Supreme Court — he had already hired his judicial clerks for next term — playing into the narrative of right-wingers who have been pressuring him all year to retire in order to put another young ideological conservative on the Court like junior associate justice Neil Gorsuch.
The New York Times reports, Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire From Supreme Court:
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced on Wednesday that he will retire this summer, setting in motion a furious fight over the future of the Supreme Court and giving President Trump the chance to cement a conservative judicial philosophy on the American legal system for generations.
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Justice Kennedy delivered a letter of resignation to Mr. Trump Wednesday afternoon, shortly after a half-hour meeting at the White House, where the president called him a jurist with “tremendous vision and tremendous heart.”
“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,” Justice Kennedy wrote to Mr. Trump.