Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday (June 27), effective July 31st. Kennedy, who will turn 82 in July, has been on the Supreme Court since 1988 when he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan.
"It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those on the Supreme Court," Kennedy said in a statement.
Kennedy was known as a moderate and was the deciding vote in many high-profile cases during his 30-year career. He sided with the liberal justices to save the ObamaCare individual mandate and to legalize gay marriage, while agreeing with the conservative bloc to limit campaign finance laws in the Citizen's United case and to protect religious liberty in the recent ruling in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
Kennedy's retirement will give President Donald Trump the chance to nominate a second justice to the high court and potentially ensure a conservative majority for years to come. Trump will have to act quickly if he wants to fill the vacancy before the midterm elections when the Republicans could lose control of both the House and Senate.
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