Justice Kennedy retiring; President Trump gets 2nd Supreme Court pick

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS  AFP

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS AFP

And now President Trump will replace him with a judge who will nearly certainly be more right-wing than Kennedy, decisively tipping the balance toward the court's conservative faction. Lower courts had blocked the travel ban announced in September, as well as two prior versions, in legal challenges brought by the state of Hawaii and others.

"It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those on the Supreme Court", Kennedy was quoted as saying in a statement announcing his decision.

Earlier, Trump said in an official statement issued by the White House, "Today's Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution". "We just don't know how much different, but I'm optimistic". This is an important moment as we look to the future of the court.

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President Donald Trump will get to make his second nomination to the United States Supreme Court, as Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will turn 82 next month, is retiring. Five of the nine judges - called justices - agreed that the president has authority to limit travel from foreign countries for national security reasons.

On Wednesday, in an interview with Politico hours before Kennedy's announcement, McConnell, 76, said keeping the seat vacant was the "most consequential decision I've ever made".

The travel ban was among the court's biggest cases this term and the latest in a string of 5-4 decisions in which the conservative side of the court, bolstered by the addition of Gorsuch a year ago, prevailed.

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Clarke Gayford however was quick to relay what it was like watching Jacinda hold Neve Te Aroha Ardern Gayford for the first time. The couple welcomed Neve, their first child, on Thursday, announcing the news on Instagram .

Trump already has left an imprint on the court, restoring its 5-4 conservative majority with the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch a year ago after the president's fellow Republicans in the Senate in 2016 refused to consider Democratic former President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. "He deeply disappointed many Americans with his constitutional jurisprudence favoring abortion and same-sex marriage".

Kennedy was a supporter of Roe v. Wade - the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion throughout the United States - and voted several times to uphold the precedent during his career on the high court. Justice Neil Gorsuch was later nominated by President Trump.

Democrats were left irate in 2016, after a Republican-majority Senate refused to vote on Barack Obama's 2016 nominee Merrick Garland.

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With Kennedy's retirement taking effect July 31 and a new Supreme Court session convening October 1, it leaves the president and Senate little time to act if they want to avoid having an even 4-4 ideological split on the bench. Judges Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump named to the federal appeals court in Chicago, and Raymond Kethledge, a former Kennedy law clerk who serves on the appeals court based in Cincinnati, also may be considered.

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