WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and pundits are pushing the narrative that President Trump will get his second Supreme Court appointment in his first year in office, hinting that Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire in a matter of months.
“I would expect a resignation this summer,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said at a National Association of Manufacturers meeting last week. He didn’t mention Kennedy by name, but speculation over the justice’s future has reached a crescendo in Washington.
If Kennedy retires, it would be “the moment that Republican conservatives have been waiting for, for almost 50 years,” said Stephen Wermiel, an American University Washington College of Law professor and Supreme Court expert, saying that was the last time the court was in a position to secure a conservative majority on the court.
Despite all the broad hints being dropped, Kennedy has also given indications that he will remain on the bench beyond the end of this term in June — even hiring law clerks for the term that begins in October.
But scuttlebutt over Kennedy’s retirement began even before Trump took office, and has escalated recently. In an interview on C-SPAN, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt told a Herald reporter he expects “Justice Kennedy would retire this June and we have a five-member originalist court.”
At the annual Conservative Political Action conference in February, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said: “I think we’ll have another Supreme Court vacancy this summer.”
The last time two Supreme Court justices were appointed in one year was 1971, when…
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