"On June 27, 2018, hours after the Supreme Court released its final opinions for the term, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, announced that, effective July 31, 2018, he would retire from active service as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Nominated to replace Justice Lewis Powell in 1987, Justice Kennedy has served on the Court for more than three decades. Like his predecessor, Justice Kennedy has often been referred to as the Court's 'swing' vote. Justice Kennedy has pushed back against such a moniker, declaring in a 2015 speech that '[t]he cases swing, I don't.' But his central role on the Court in recent decades, and in particular in the Roberts Court era, cannot be overstated. Since the Roberts Court began in 2005, Justice Kennedy has been the justice who cast his votes most often with the majority of the Court in all but three terms. (Chief Justice Roberts edged out Justice Kennedy in the most recent term and the October 2007 term, while Justice Breyer was the most frequent justice in the majority during the October 2014 term). This Sidebar highlights various areas of law in which Justice Kennedy--either by authoring or joining a Supreme Court opinion--proved consequential to the trajectory of Supreme Court jurisprudence. In so doing, this post provides a broad overview of key legal issues Congress (and, more specifically the Senate, through its advice and consent role) may wish to consider as it reflects on Justice Kennedy's jurisprudence and how his eventual successor might shape the future of the Court, Congress, and the nation as a whole."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10159
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html