President Trump’s first Supreme Court appointment could soon be followed up by his second. And, possibly, by a third given the advanced ages some of the justices have achieved. No one lives forever.
If President Trump’s second pick for the Supreme Court is as successful as his first, conservatives will have yet another reason to rejoice. While getting Justice Gorsuch confirmed did require the Senate to end the filibuster rule for Supreme Court nominees, it had to be done lest the president never get a nominee confirmed.
There’s been much speculation that Justice Ginsburg will retire, however it turns out that it might be Justice Kennedy who will be next.
With the replacement of the late Justice Scalia, the makeup of the court changed little. A staunch conservative was replaced by another conservative. However, Kennedy is a swing vote, sometimes siding with the more liberal members of the court. So, his replacement could make a big difference.
Kennedy’s impact on the court is profound as he “controls the outcome of cases like no other justice in more than a decade. With four conservatives to his right, four liberals to his left, he often holds the decisive vote on business and regulatory matters as well.”
Speculation as to whether another Supreme Court Justice will soon step down already has politicians discussing the ramifications of such a resignation. “‘I think we’ll have another Supreme Court vacancy this summer,’ Texas GOP Sen Ted Cruz told a gathering at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year. He suggested that if Kennedy or one of the liberal justices step down, the left ‘will go full Armageddon meltdown.'”
Of course they will. Much of the left’s agenda has depended on a Supreme Court that likewise has a flexible approach to the interpretation of the Constitution and a willingness to support a progressive agenda. A court with five judicial conservatives would be a catastrophe for the left.
Given that “[o]ver the past three decades, justices have often chosen spring to announce their retirements, as the annual October-June session was winding down,” we are clearly in the season when the announcement of one or more retirements might be made.
If the next retiree is from the left such as Justice Ginsburg, or the centrist Justice Kennedy, expect the political battles to reach a level not witnessed since…well, since the November elections.