Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement, gives Trump second Supreme Court pick

Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement, gives Trump second Supreme Court pick

"Justice Kennedy is a most dedicated public servant, having served on the High Court for over thirty years", Leonard Leo, Outside Advisor to the President for Judicial Nominations, said.

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 past year, prevailed. He has sided with the liberal justices on gay rights and abortion rights, as well as some cases involving race, the death penalty and the rights of people detained without charges at the Guantanamo Bay naval base.

"Because I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that will go back to the individual states", Trump said.

A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.

With the court's five conservatives in the majority, the ruling also ended a fierce fight in the courts over whether the policy amounted to an unlawful Muslim ban. Senate Republicans changed the chamber's rules during the Gorsuch nomination battle to prevent Democrats from insisting on a 60-vote super-majority, allowing court nominees to win confirmation by a simple majority vote.

But some civil liberties groups and immigration advocates likened it to a 1944 Supreme Court decision that upheld an executive order requiring Americans of Japanese ancestry to be sent to detention camps.

Justice Kennedy, 81, will retire on 31 July, per his letter to Mr Trump.

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Trump already has a list of 25 candidates - 24 judges and Utah Senator Mike Lee - from which the White House has previously said he would choose a nominee.

Kennedy disappointed conservatives by joining Supreme Court decisions that affirmed the Roe decision, including a landmark 1992 ruling in the case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

"His work has made an impressive contribution to the development of the law in many fields, and he will surely be remembered as one of the most important justices in the history of the court", added conservative Justice Samuel Alito.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as the vice chairman of Trump's transition team, told Fox: "When he first announced it, he said "Muslim ban". During arguments, Kennedy leaned forward in his black leather chair, looking earnest and wearing wire-rimmed glasses, often asking probing questions of the lawyers.

The 5-4 decision Tuesday is a big victory for Trump on an issue that is central to his presidency, and the court's first substantive ruling on a Trump administration policy.

Kennedy, previously a federal appeals court judge in California, was actually Reagan's third choice for the job.

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