Justice Kennedy: No Plans To Retire Before 2012

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is perhaps the most crucial vote on the Supreme Court given the amount of times he is the deciding vote in a 5-4 split, isn’t planning on retiring any time soon:

WASHINGTON – President Obama may get liberal Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, but conservative swing-voter Anthony Kennedy says he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Justice Kennedy, who turns 74 this month, has told relatives and friends he plans to stay on the high court for at least three more years – through the end of Obama’s first term, sources said.

That means Kennedy will be around to provide a fifth vote for the court’s conservative bloc through the 2012 presidential election. If Obama loses, Kennedy could retire and expect a Republican President to choose a conservative justice.

Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been on the court 22 years. He has become a bit of a political nemesis at the White House for his increasing tendency to side with the court’s four rock-ribbed conservative justices.

Kennedy isn’t the only justice who might be expected to retire sometime in the next six years. By 2012, four Justices — Kennedy, Scalia, Ginsburg, and Breyer — will be over 75 and while we might see one more retirement in Obama’s first term the changes that are likely to occur in the Senate after November make it unlikely that Obama will be able to appoint candidates even as liberal as Sotomayor or Kagan.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Supreme Court, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.