Speculation continues to swirl around the highest court in the land as reports from Washington indicated that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy may be considering retirement.
Kennedy is the swing vote on the Supreme Court, meaning he is the closest to the middle on the political ideology spectrum.
“There have been a lot of votes where he has been clearly, squarely in the center and been instrumental in creating a majority,” said former New Hampshire Attorney General Tom Rath.
Rath said that’s particularly true on the issue of abortion rights, with Kennedy taking a position that translates as narrowly pro-choice.
“It would be very difficult to get a visibly anti-‘Roe’ judge confirmed, even to get 50 Republican votes,” Rath said.
Rath has deep knowledge of the Supreme Court nominating process. In 1990 he played a key role in the nomination and appointment of his friend, Justice David Souter, who then upheld abortion rights in the landmark decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
Rath said political watchers should be careful about jumping to conclusions on a potential Kennedy replacement or even regarding newly minted Justice Neil Gorsuch, because no one knows for sure how they’ll decide.
“Judges tend to be, once they got on there, very unpredictable,” Rath said.
The Supreme Court term ends at the end of June. If a justice is going to retire, this is the time they tend to do it.
WEBVTT .LIBRARIANS THERE SAY THEY AREWILLING TO DO WHATEVER ISNECESSARY TO FIGHT THISEPIDEMIC.ADAM: SPECULATION CONTINUES TOSWIRL AROUND THE HIGHEST COURTIN THE LAND, AS REPORTS OUT OFWASHINGTON INDICATE SUPREMECOURT JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDYMAY BE CONSIDERING RETIREMENT.TODAY WE SPOKE WITH A FORMER NEWHAMPSHIRE ATTORNEY GENERAL ANDSUPREME COURT INSIDER OF SORTSWHO SAYS IF KENNEDY RETIRES, ITWILL TRIGGER AN EPICCONFIRMATION FIGHT.>> I HAVE BEEN A JUDGE FOR 30YEARS.REPORTER: ANTHONY KENNEDY ISKNOWN AS A SWING VOTE ONE THESUPREME COURT MEANING IF YOULOOK AT THE JUSTICES THROUGH ALENS OF LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVHE’S THE ONE WHO’S CLOSEST TOTHE MIDDLE.>> THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OFVOTES WHERE HE HAS BEEN CLEARLY,SQUARELY IN THE CENTER AND BEENINSTRUMENTAL IN CREATING AMAJORITY. REPORTER: FORMER NEW HAMPSHIREATTORNEY GENERAL TOM RATH SAYSTHAT IS PARTICULARLY TRUE ON THEISSUE OF ABORTION RIGHTS, WITHKENNEDY TAKING A POSITION THATTRANSLATES AS NARROWLYPRO-CHOICE.IF KENNEDY RETIRES, PRESIDENTTRUMP IS EXPECTED TO NOMINATE AMORE TRADITIONAL CONSERVATIVE INHIS PLACE.>> IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT TOGET AN ANTI, A VISIBLYANTI-‘ROE’ JUDGE CONFIRMED, EVENTO GET 50 REPUBLICAN VOTES. REPORTER: RATH HAS DEEPKNOWLEDGE OF THE SUPREME COURTNOMINATING PROCESS.IN 1990 HE PLAYED A KEY ROLE INTHE NOMINATION AND APPOINTMENTOF HIS FRIEND, JUSTICE DAVIDSOUTER, WHO THEN UPHELD ABORTIONRIGHTS IN THE LANDMARK DECISIONPLANNED PARENTHOOD V. CASEY.RATH SAYS POLITICAL WATCHERSSHOULD BE CAREFUL JUMPING TOCONCLUSIONS ON A POTENTIALKENNEDY REPLACEMENT, OR EVENREGARDING NEWLY MINTED JUSTICENEIL GORSUCH, BECAUSE NO ONEKNOWS FOR SURE HOW THEY’LLDECIDE.>> JUDGES TEND TO BE ONCE THEYGET ON THERE VERY UNPREDICTABLE.