On Wednesday, in a move that had long been rumored by Republicans and long dreaded by Democrats, Justice Anthony Kennedy — the swing vote on the Supreme Court — announced his retirement. Kennedy’s replacement by an originalist could dramatically shift the balance of power on the court, and make Chief Justice John Roberts the new swing vote.
Democrats and members of the Left have immediately shifted into panic mode, suggesting that Kennedy’s retirement will end with the overturning of the egregious Roe v. Wade decision. That could result in pro-life legislation in a wide variety of states — assuming, of course, that Roberts does not move to protect Roe. This retirement also comes at a time when the Supreme Court has handed down a spate of close 5-4 decisions benefiting First Amendment protections, disappointing Democrats.
Here was Kennedy’s letter announcing his retirement.
Justice Kennedy retires pic.twitter.com/GRXyBBA6P9
— Adam Liptak (@adamliptak) June 27, 2018
The war over Trump’s next nominee will be brutal; it’s been generations since an actual swing vote retired. Prepare for the worst political warfare of the last several decades.