Kennedy has sat on the court almost 30 years, making him the longest serving of the current justices. The court declined, however, to take up an important California gun rights case, over a dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas that was joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice, said Monday's decisions "confirm" that Gorsuch "is staking out a position on the court's right flank". Republicans took the unprecedented step of refusing to fill the seat during an election year and Democrats offered little in the way of resistance, allowing both sides to gamble on winning the presidency and filling the seat. Now that Kennedy may step down at some point during the Trump administration, those same networks are suddenly eager for political "war".
The last day of the Supreme Court's term was notable not only for what was announced but also for what wasn't. This year, according to CNN, the smart money is betting on swing justice Anthony Kennedy.
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While a Republican appointment, Justice Kennedy has proven the most unreliable swing vote for conservatives. He wrote the majority opinion in Obergefell v Hodges, the 2015 ruling which made same-sex marriage the law of the land.
Helping drive the speculation, dozens of Kennedy's former clerks are traveling to Washington to participate in a private clerk reunion that occurs regularly - and many of them wonder if it will be their last chance to meet with him while he is still on the bench.
MATT LAUER: Yeah, a real quick one.
The court could also delay its recess to allow more time to consider the case, or even put it off to the autumn session.
However, sometimes Kennedy voted with the four conservatives on the bench. And I'm hearing all the same rumors that Pete Williams is hearing. International Refugee Assistance Project, the constitutional challenge to Executive Order 13,780, President Donald Trump's travel-restriction order. That's all we've got.
Justice Kennedy, does the president who chose this man really deserve to name your replacement?
ROBERTS: Oh, goodness gracious, seismic, as you said earlier.
In the event of a vacancy, she said the president would look for a candidate with similar credentials to his previous nominee who was confirmed, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
JAN CRAWFORD: Oh, Charlie, I mean, Justice Kennedy, I mean, he is widely expected to retire in the next year or two, but the question is when.
But Washington is rife with rumors and speculation about the future of Justice Anthony Kennedy and whether or not he will retire after the term. He's been considering retirement. That moves means there is little incentive for the President not to nominate a strong conservative.
Hayes tried to foment panic among moonbat conspiracy theorists that Roe v. Wade could be overturned if Trump appoints another conservative justice (which is ridiculous, because legal experts say abortion will never be outlawed again in the United States). The government's lawyers have appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing the goal is to keep Americans safe.