EDWARDS: What Justice Kennedy’s Retirement Means for Conservatives


Saturday, June 30, 2018

On June 27, Supreme Court Justice Kennedy announced his retirement from the highest court of the United States. This announcement sent the media and Twitter into a frenzy of celebrations from the right and a roar of upsets from the left.

The retirement is great news for the right, but who exactly was Anthony Kennedy? What impact did he have on America?

Justice Kennedy was a Ronald Reagan pick and served on the court for 43 years. Time Magazine nicknamed him “The Decider” and for those 43 years, that’s exactly what he was.

Time and time again in Supreme Court cases such as Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania v. Casey (5-3), Roper v. Simmons (5-4), and most famously, the 2013 United States v. Windsor case, Justice Kennedy held the fate of millions of individuals with his vote. He was a strong moderate and was a healthy balance within the Judicial branch—which should be commended. This worked to the conservative movement’s benefit on issues like free speech, but failed us on abortion.

Because of Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s makeup was balanced on controversial issues, and each side hoped his interpretation of the laws would match their own, because he swayed back and forth consistently.

Now, with Donald Trump getting a second nomination, America finally has the potential for a right-leaning Supreme Court. Conservatives everywhere have already began to promote this idea on Twitter, and across many other social media platforms.

With a second Supreme Court pick for President Trump, what does this mean for conservatives? Is there honestly a chance to overturn Roe v. Wade in this lifetime? Yes, and yes.

Right now, we have an open seat with the opportunity to transform the Court’s makeup and allow for a right-leaning constitutionalist (who would be inherently pro-life), that would make the potential for Roe v. Wade to be overturned higher than it has ever been. However, who will fill that seat is still a mystery and claiming absolutes is dangerous.

Donald Trump’s list is long, including names such as Mike Lee, Don Willett, and Edward Mansfield, however Trump says he has about five names he’s looking at within that list.

With these names, each individual would bring a different set of eyes to the Court and interpretation of the Constitution. None of them agree on every issue, and they would all change the Court’s balance somewhat differently than the others. It is difficult to say what way they will lean on any issue, especially pro-life issues, when the list of names is long and diverse. There is some ambiguity on how each potential justice views Roe v. Wade.

As conservatives, it still makes sense to be happy. This is fantastic news for the future of the Supreme Court and holding true to the foundation of America. Justice Kennedy retiring does mean that there is a chance for cases such as Roe v. Wade to get overturned, but don’t let celebration get in the way of rational thought. A chance is not an absolute.

Donald Trump will announce his nominee on July 9, and any name on the list will bring a fresh perspective to our SCOTUS. Get ready.

Danielle is a junior at the University of North Georgia studying Early Childhood and Special Education. She's currently the Social Media Director for Lone Conservative.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Danielle Edwards

University of North Georgia

Danielle is a junior at the University of North Georgia studying Early Childhood and Special Education. She's currently the Social Media Director for Lone Conservative.

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