Justice Anthony Kennedy has quietly relayed the serious prospect of his retirement to several applicants for positions in his chambers, telling job-seekers that he may depart the Supreme Court before their term of employment begins.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports that Kennedy has made applicants for clerkships in his chambers aware that he is considering retirement. The justice has hired clerks for the 2017 term, which will convene in October, but has made no hires for the ensuing 2018 term.
That Kennedy may depart the bench in the near future is not news. He is 80 years old and has let slip certain signals indicating retirement is a strong possibility. Still, his reported candor with potential clerk-hires — young-professionals who are essentially strangers — is a rare tangible development on a subject largely characterized by rank speculation.
Sensing his interest in leaving judicial service, the Trump administration has quietly encouraged Kennedy to step aside, making certain cues meant to coax him into leaving the bench.
This cues have included leaks to The New York Times from administration sources concerning Kennedy’s possible successors (both candidates named by the White House clerked for Kennedy in the 1990s), and the appointment of several Kennedy clerks to senior positions in the Department of Justice.
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