Supreme Court justice, Anthony Kennedy, announced his retirement via a resignation letter to President Trump on Wednesday. This is unsettling news for women throughout the US. Kennedy has been a key swing vote on many important issues like same-sex marriage and reproductive rights. Now, President Trump must fill Kennedy’s place, and people are worried how this will affect women and gay rights.
At the time of his retirement, Kennedy, 81, had served on the US Supreme Court for three decades. Highlights of his 30-year term include the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey case, which upheld certain abortion rights. In 2015, Kennedy’s swing vote against state bans prohibiting same-sex marriage further helped shape gay rights.
According to lawyer, Lisa Blatt, who has argued 35 cases before the Supreme Court, “On abortion, race and gays, Kennedy matters.”
But now that Kennedy is leaving the Supreme Court on July 31st, Trump has the opportunity to replace him. And political analysts are predicting that Trump’s choice will significantly reshape the country.
According to Jennifer Dalven, the director of Reproductive Freedom Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, “Justice Kennedy provided a critical vote to uphold a woman’s right to abortion…President Trump has promised to replace him with a Justice who would take away the constitutional right to have an abortion altogether.”
Legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, went so far to say on Twitter (@JeffreyToobin), “Anthony Kennedy is retiring. Abortion will be illegal in twenty states in 18 months.”
If this is true, these rights can be removed for decades.
In a statement following Kennedy’s retirement, Trump said, “We have to pick a great gone. We have to pick one that’s going to be there for 40 years, 45 years. We need intellect. We need so many things.”