Speculation Swirls: Will Justice Kennedy Hang Up His Robes?

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The U.S. Supreme Court is the subject of potent gossip in legal circles amid rumors that Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire soon. The 80-year-old Kennedy sparked the speculation that he was set to announce his retirement when he moved up by a year a long-scheduled reunion of his former clerks, reports Politico. But he made no announcement about his future at the event, held Saturday at the court, one attendee said. He did not address the rumors. But the legal site Above the Law quoted Kennedy as joking at the reunion that he had an announcement that had been the subject of speculation: “The bar will remain open after the end of the formal program.”

The court’s current term ends today. Although there are no firm indications that Kennedy will step down, some of his former law clerks have said he is considering it. White House counsel Don McGahn told President Trump recently that he expected Kennedy to step down soon. Kennedy is often the swing vote between the court’s liberal and conservative wings. Kennedy has sided with the court’s four liberals on some major issues, most notably gay rights. His retirement would give Trump an opportunity to recast the court in a more conservative posture, possibly for decades to come.

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