In a stunning move that has massive long-term political implications for gun owners across the country, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced that he will be stepping down at the end of July.
Kennedy, who has been serving as a Supreme Court justice for 30 years, cited his desire to spend more time with his family as the main reason for his departure. He is 81-years-old. Reacting to the news, President Donald Trump thanked the justice for his service, adding that the search for his replacement will begin immediately.
“For a member of the legal profession, it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court,” Kennedy wrote in a letter to President Trump. “Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.”
Known as the swing-vote of the nine-member body, Kennedy has earned the ire of conservatives for frequently siding with more liberal members of the court. Such rulings included his decision to support the 2010 Affordable Care Act (better known as “Obamacare”), and his support for legalizing same-sex marriage from the bench in 2015.
On the Second Amendment, Kennedy has been on the record stating that he interprets the right to gun ownership as being individual, rather than collective. He joined the majority in the DC vs. Heller case in 2008, which overturned the ban on handguns in the nation’s capitol.
With Kennedy set to leave the high court on July 31, Republicans in the Senate have an opportunity to instill a solidly conservative court that could define policy for decades to come — presumably including a stalwart defense of the Second Amendment. According to Trump, the incoming justice will be selected from a list of 25 judges. This will be Trump’s second Supreme Court pick as president, following the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch to succeed the late Antonin Scalia in 2017.
As gun owners, it’s hard not to get excited over the prospects of a new justice. Considering Gorsuch has proven to be a worthy successor to Scalia’s legacy, we can expect Kennedy’s replacement to follow in the same vein. Hopefully, Trump will continue to nominate justices and judges who rule cases using a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. The future of the Second Amendment depends on it.
~ Firearm Daily