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Anthony Kennedy is a former United States Supreme Court Justice appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987. Kennedy, a compromise candidate, became Reagan's third choice when the Senate rejected Robert Bork (of Nixon-era Saturday Night Massacre fame) and the name of Douglas Ginsburg was withdrawn after he admitted smoking marijuana with his law students at Harvard. Kennedy was confirmed 97-0 by the U.S. Senate.
In late June of 2018, Justice Kennedy announced he would retire on July 31st that year. His retirement could have major political consequences for decades to come as former President Donald Trump has appointed a conservative judge, Brett Kavanaugh, to replace him. Kennedy was the "swing vote" in the Supreme Court. He sided with conservatives in Bush v. Gore and Citizens United v. FEC but with liberals in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the right to abortion, Roper v. Simmons, which struck down the death penalty for juvenile offenders, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which paved the way for same-sex marriage. Democrats demanded that the nomination for Kennedy’s replacement take place after the 2018 midterm elections, citing the 2016 presidential election as precedent, when Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell refused to even consider President Barack Obama's candidate. This failed miserably.