On June 27, Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, effective July 31. Kennedy’s retirement is a very important one, due to the fact that he has been the Court’s swing vote on many court decisions throughout his tenure. Kennedy’s retirement opens up a new spot for a new Justice. This is absolutely crucial, especially after Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation in 2017. This gives President Donald Trump the opportunity to choose another young, conservative Justice that could shape the Supreme Court for decades to come. Kennedy was arguably the most important Justice on the court. He had decided that the President’s travel ban was constitutional, that Government workers weren’t required to join labor unions, among many other cases.
However, this won’t come easy for the President and his Republican constituents. The reason for that is because the Senate must confirm this Justice, and if the Democrats regain control of the Senate, the President will be effectively stonewalled by the Senate. This makes it even more important that the Republicans retain the majority in the Senate, and support Trump’s vision for the Court. Trump was a supporter of Justice Kennedy, calling him “a special guy’. Immediately after Kennedy announced his retirement, Trump began his search for a replacement, hinting at perhaps replacing Kennedy with a clerk of Kennedy’s, such as Brett Kavanaugh, who clerked for Kennedy on the Court, or perhaps Judge Tom Hardiman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, one of Trump’s candidates for the previous opening, following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016. Regardless of Trump’s choice, it is absolutely imperative that the White House chooses a Justice before the November midterms, in case the Democrats regain control.
The Democrats are urging the Republicans to wait until the midterms elections due to petty grudges held by the Democrats after the Republicans held up President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, until Trump’s inauguration as President. Democrats argued that the move by the Republicans denied Obama the Presidential right to choose a successor, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer argued that the Republicans disrespected Obama’s choice with their decision to delay.
Whatever happens in the coming months, it is sure to impact America’s future. It is important that we remember this moment as a immensely pivotal juncture in America’s history, both judicially and socially, as well as this decision will impact the way our highest Court in the land operates.
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