Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement officially took effect Tuesday.
In his June 27 letter to President Donald Trump, Kennedy announced he would leave regular service on Tuesday, July 31.
His last public act on the high court came late Monday, when the justices denied the government’s request for a stay of discovery and trial in a climate change lawsuit brought by a group of children who claim federal inaction on carbon emissions violates their constitutional rights. The case originated in Oregon.
As Kennedy hears all emergency motions arising within the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — which includes Oregon — the government’s motion was brought to his chambers. He subsequently referred the motion to the full Court, which rejected the government’s request, while expressing serious doubts about the plaintiffs’ case. (RELATED: Mitch McConnell Is Ready To Play Hardball To Get Brett Kavanaugh Confirmed)
It’s not clear what Kennedy plans to do in retirement — he did not resign his federal commission, instead taking “senior status,” a form of quasi-retirement which removes judges from active duty while allowing them to participate in cases on a reduced basis. Kennedy will no longer participate in Supreme Court cases, but can sit by designation in the lower courts.
The justice has spent time in his native California since the Court adjourned in late June. He attended the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference in Anaheim, California in late July. During public remarks at the conference, he said he would like to spend his remaining years focusing on prison reform. He also visited the secretive Bohemian Grove retreat, and was scheduled to co-teach a course on freedom of expression University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law summer program in Salzburg, Austria, as is his usual summer custom.
Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to succeed Kennedy. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee have not yet been scheduled.
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