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Justice Kennedy, U.S. Supreme Court’s pivotal vote, to retire

By Lawrence Hurley
Reuters

June 27. 2018 2:19PM
U.S. Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday. (File/Reuters)


WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy said on Wednesday he plans to retire after three decades as a pivotal vote on the highest U.S. judicial body, giving President Donald Trump an opportunity to make the court more firmly conservative.

The conservative Kennedy, who turns 82 in July and is the second-oldest justice on the nine-member court, has become one of the most consequential American jurists since joining the court in 1988 as an appointee of Republican President Ronald Reagan. He proved instrumental in advancing gay rights, buttressing abortion rights and erasing political spending limits. His retirement takes effect on July 31, the court said.

“It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court,” Kennedy said in a statement.

The statement issued by the court said that Kennedy's decision was motivated by his decision to spend more time with his family.

Kennedy is a traditional conservative who sometimes joined the liberal justices on key rulings, earning a reputation as the court's “swing” vote who heartened conservatives and liberals alike, depending on the issue. Kennedy on Tuesday joined the court's four other conservatives in giving Trump a huge legal victory by upholding the Republican president's travel ban targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries.


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