Kennedy’s retirement marks just another transformation that Trump is able to permanently alter the federal judiciary
After historic numbers of appointments, Trump is finally able to make his second Supreme Court appointment to replace Anthony Kennedy
For years Kennedy’s swing vote has protected civil rights, upheld labor protection laws, and against mass incarceration. However, his retirement effectively cedes all protections that he has sought after.
Now for the first time in history since Planned Parenthood v. Casey there is an actual opportunity that Roe v. Wade may actually get repealed and abortion is banned throughout much of the U.S.
After appointing young, mostly qualified, but highly conservative judges such as Amul Thapar (former district judge), Allison Eid (former Colorado SC judge), Amy Coney Barrett (former Notre Dame law professor), Kevin Newsom (former Bradley partner), and others to federal appeals courts throughout the nation, Trump can select one of his appointees to serve on the highest court, just like George H. W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the DC circuit then to the Supreme Court.
Kennedy’s retirement is calculated, deliberate, and expected by a major portion of the legal community. It’s seen as a return favor for the GOP (which appointed Kennedy) and a personal favor for Trump. Unlike Justice Souter, who decided that he would continue his ideological legacy by retiring under Obama and having a justice in his mold (Sotomayor) to replace him, Kennedy decidedly gave Trump a political gift that would allow the latter to transform federal judiciary from the bottom to the top.
Based on current projections, get ready for extreme conservatives becoming Justice Kavanaugh (Appointed by Bush, DC circuit), Justice Hardiman (Appointed by Bush, 3rd circuitt), or Justice Barrett(Appointed by Trump, 7th circuit). By retiring, Kennedy puts Democrats in a disadvantageous political position—confirming Kennedy’s replacement, who is likely to be extremely conservative, would incite enthusiasm for voters who would prefer a more liberal justice, but employing a delaying tactic could be seen as obstruction to moderate GOP voters who may reluctantly back Trump.
Regardless, America will no longer be the same with Kennedy’s retirement. By having a replacement who has sparked significant legal outrage toward Roe v. Wade, or Lochner v. U.S., American civil and political rights progress could reverse up to 20 years.