Supreme Court last day notable for what was and wasn't said


There is speculation- and it is really only speculation- that Justice Anthony Kennedy could use the last day of the court's term to make a major announcement.

In terms of a replacement, Kennedy might take comfort in the list of 20 judges Trump has vowed to draw from when considering the next vacancy on the court.

Gorsuch is already delivering as the strong conservative President Donald Trump promised his voters when he ran for office a year ago.

But Kennedy, now 80, is said to be considering stepping down from the Supreme Court, according to CNN, though he has not publicly signalled he will do so in the next year. The Justices might answer the question of whether religiously affiliated schools can be constitutionally denied equal access to government benefits, even if the benefit has nothing to do with matters of faith.

When asked about that, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway told ABC: "I will never reveal a conversation between a sitting justice and the president or the White House, but we're paying very close attention to these last bit of decisions".

The point is, Kennedy has been unreliable and inconsistent from every point of view-he totally botched property rights again (you'd have thought he'd learned a lesson from the 2005 Kelo case) with his opinion this last week in Murr v. Wisconsin-but there is a lot for the left to dislike about Kennedy, too. It was Kennedy who penned the majority opinion in Citizens United v. FEC - striking down election spending limits for corporations and unions in support of individual candidates.

That review should be complete before October 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.

"As the court's most important Justice - at the center of the institution's ideological balance - Justice Kennedy's ability to bridge the divide between left and right on critical issues such as the right to access abortion can not be overstated", said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.


It was Kennedy who wrote the decision establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage nationwide.

"I expect Armageddon on the next one", Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said after the Gorsuch confirmation, "because that's going to change... the direction of the court" far into the future.

Overall, Kennedy has voted with the conservatives more than with the liberal justices. Kennedy plus the conservatives loosened the reins on corporate money in campaigns, gutted the Voting Rights Act, and strengthened gun rights.

MORAN: And then the real buzz about Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Every term offers what one former Supreme Court nominee called an "intellectual feast" of cases, which may be a reason it's so hard to leave the court.

Is Anthony Kennedy preparing to retire?

The court could, instead, side with Trump by finding the lower courts were wrong. That's because they played all their cards trying to block Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed to replace Justice Scalia. This was originally posted on the Media Research Center blog NewsBusters.