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Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire
Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate on the Supreme Court, announced his retirement on Wednesday, giving President Donald Trump the second opportunity of his presidency to put forward a more conservative judge and alter the makeup of the nation's highest court.
Kennedy, 81, has often cast the decisive vote in landmark Supreme Court cases during his 30 years on the bench, including those involving abortion, gay rights and voting rights.
His retirement becomes effective at the end of July.
In a statement, Kennedy said it had been his “greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 years of those years on the Supreme Court."
A Trump-named successor would likely create a solid five-member conservative majority on the court. Without Kennedy, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans.
Kennedy has authored major Supreme Court opinions, including a 1992 ruling that reaffirmed abortion rights, and a landmark 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States.
But in his final decision on the Supreme Court, Kennedy joined the court’s four conservative justices on Tuesday in upholding the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban on citizens of five predominantly Muslim countries.