14:24, June 27 39 0 theguardian.com

2018-06-27 14:24:10
Anthony Kennedy: US supreme court justice to retire

Supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy, who has provided crucial swing votes on core progressive issues including abortion rights and same-sex marriage, announced his retirement Wednesday in a decision that will send shock waves into every corner of US civic life.

The announcement set up a titanic battle between Republicans allied with Donald Trump, who wish to replace Kennedy with a more reliably conservative justice, and Democrats who fear that a new Trump appointment could give the court an extreme conservative bent for generations.

Kennedy, who will turn 82 next month, was nominated by Ronald Reagan and is the longest-serving of the court’s nine justices. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85, is older, but she has said she is not considering retirement.

One of Trump’s most popular actions with his political base so far was his nomination last year of the conservative justice Neil Gorsuch, and Trump has promised to tap an equally conservative judge as his second pick, given the chance. The White House maintains a list of possible Trump nominees.

Each of the previous four presidents has filled two Supreme Court vacancies, including George HW Bush, who served only one term.

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