America after Anthony Kennedy

Jul 3, 2018

By Dylan Matthews

Anthony Kennedy, the longest-serving member of the Supreme Court, is retiring.

Kennedy has, since at least 2005, been the swing vote on many of the Court’s most ideologically charged decisions, responsible for 5-4 rulings that legalized same-sex marriagepreserved Roe v. Wadeupheld warrantless wiretappingblew up campaign finance restrictionsoverturned DC’s handgun ban, and weakened the Voting Rights Act. That position has made him one of the most powerful people in America for well over a decade now, not even counting the 18 years he shared his position as the Court’s swing voter with Sandra Day O’Connor.

But Kennedy, who turns 82 this July, is already the 14th longest-serving justice (out of 113) in the Court’s history. President Donald Trump reportedly nominated Neil Gorsuch, a former Kennedy clerk, to the Court in part to reassure Kennedy that he could trust Trump with picking his replacement. It’s not surprising he decided it was ultimately time to go.

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