Kennedy: I think I’ll stick around until 2013

posted at 10:55 am on July 6, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Increasingly, Justice Anthony Kennedy has become the most important member of the Supreme Court.  After the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor, Kennedy serves as the swing vote between the conservative and liberal blocs on the Court, siding more often with conservatives (but not often enough for their taste).  At 74, though, Kennedy is at an age when most men think of retirement — and his departure would set off a political firestorm on Capitol Hill the likes of which haven’t been seen since Clarence Thomas endured his trial by fire in the Senate.

And maybe that’s why Kennedy tells close friends and relatives that he wants to wait a while before retiring … or perhaps it’s because of the man who would pick his successor:

Justice Kennedy, who turns 74 this month, has told relatives and friends he plans to stay on the high court for at least three more years – through the end of Obama’s first term, sources said.

That means Kennedy will be around to provide a fifth vote for the court’s conservative bloc through the 2012 presidential election. If Obama loses, Kennedy could retire and expect a Republican President to choose a conservative justice.

Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been on the court 22 years. He has become a bit of a political nemesis at the White House for his increasing tendency to side with the court’s four rock-ribbed conservative justices.

In fact, as the New York Daily News implies, Kennedy may have made that decision after this year’s State of the Union address:

Without naming Kennedy, Obama was unusually critical of his majority opinion in the Citizens United case, handed down last January. That 5-4 decision struck down limits on contributions to political campaigns as an abridgement of free speech.

Obama called the ruling “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power … in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

He was so angry that he took the unusual step of blasting the decision in his Jan. 27 State of the Union address, with Kennedy and five other justices looking on.

Obama certainly reveled in his prime-time, televised, cheap-shot attack at jurists who couldn’t fire back.  Samuel Alito took fire from the media for having just mouthed a rebuttal.  The only revenge any of them can take is to make sure that they stay in place until Obama leaves office.  The “at least” part of the report almost certainly means that retirement at 80 may be just as possible as retirement at 76.  After all, John Paul Stevens didn’t decide to retire until he was almost 90 years old.

Perhaps the timing is just a coincidence and Kennedy didn’t have plans to retire any earlier even prior to the 2008 election.  However, this looks more like a quiet revenge, and a reminder to Obama that Kennedy will likely remain relevant longer than the President.


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Without naming Kennedy, Obama was unusually critical of his majority opinion in the Citizens United case, handed down last January. That 5-4 decision struck down limits on contributions to political campaigns as an abridgement of free speech.

Why do reporters always get the ruling wrong?

JohnJ on July 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Why do reporters always get the ruling wrong?

JohnJ on July 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Because it serves their purposes, which are Obama’s purposes.

It’s not a mistake, it’s propaganda.

Brian1972 on July 6, 2010 at 12:50 PM

so ginsburg will retire shortly then I take it? so that dear leader will have 3 of his cronies on the bench before 2012?

cmsinaz on July 6, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Somehow the country always gets a Democrat as president every so often just to keep those liberal justices on the bench.

ButterflyDragon on July 6, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Obama called the ruling “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power … in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.”

Hehe I remember that. I also remember that is where Barry got most of his cash. But that’s gettng off topic.

reaganaut on July 6, 2010 at 1:02 PM

Thank You God! ,..Now about that birth certificate and pass port,…………

christene on July 6, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Yeah, yeah, but Kennedy is an unreliable, and certainly no Conservative. As far as I’m concerned, he’s nothing but another liberal, just not as far left as the others that are unethically occupying space on the Court for the purpose of legislating from the bench.

Virus-X on July 6, 2010 at 1:32 PM

If Kennedy wants to honor the Constitution instead of urinating on it, I have no problem with him electing to stick around until at least 2013 when a conservative POTUS can name a suitable replacement.

Yet another reminder that elections have consequences.

itzWicks on July 6, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Good news.

Actions have consequences Barry. You shouldn’t have pissed off the Supremes!

It will be quite satisfying to see President Palin get to make her first SCOTUS pick so soon after taking office!

gary4205 on July 6, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Do not take the so call Republican sweep for granted. Do not assume that the Child in Chief will be defeated in 2012. So fart the Republicans have done nothing except provide ample evidence that the county was right to throw them out of office in 2006. The unfortunate thing for the electorate is they are as bad as what is in there now. Who thought that McCain would be rehabilitated this fast? A pox on both houses until the prove their skirts are clean.

georgeofthedesert on July 6, 2010 at 2:06 PM

I’ve noticed Chief Justice Roberts influence has had a very noticeable effect on Justice Kennedy. (Perhaps Alito was part of it as well)

Kennedy is converted. He sees the imbeciles Obama appoints and wants no part of it.

Now if we can just get everyone to rally around the Republican nominee (whether it be Mitt or Sarah)

I fear that is our biggest challenge.

scotash on July 6, 2010 at 2:19 PM

Is Kennedy stoopid, or what? He can’t possibly be that naive about our “Thug-in-Chief” from Chicago. It would not surprise me to hear of Kennedy’s untimely demise before the end of the Obama Immaculation.

olesparkie on July 6, 2010 at 2:52 PM

A pox on both houses until the prove their skirts are clean.

georgeofthedesert on July 6, 2010 at 2:06 PM

A man who refuses to choose the lesser of evils often finds himself with the greater.

Merovign on July 6, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Kennedy will likely remain relevant longer than the President.

Hopefully.

Who’s campaigning to repeal Obama’s new laws and programs?

Until the Republican Congressional incumbents sign on to an RNC platform to repeal Obama’s successes, the next Republican majority of new conservatives will be trounced by Republicans holding seniority, just like all those conservatives who were newly elected to actually accomplish Newt’s Contract with America were suffocated by the Republicans in power.

maverick muse on July 6, 2010 at 3:24 PM

scotash on July 6, 2010 at 2:19 PM

(Jindal and Bachmann)

maverick muse on July 6, 2010 at 3:26 PM

Do not annoy Mr. Happy-Fun Court

mojo on July 6, 2010 at 3:36 PM

If Kennedy is annoyed now, wait until he has to interact with Miss Kevin James and her zero I.Q. on legal matters.
He’ll be making an Obama voodoo doll.

jjshaka on July 6, 2010 at 3:51 PM

Did he see his replacement and say NO thank you , I will stick around till oilbummer isnt pres.

ColdWarrior57 on July 6, 2010 at 4:10 PM

i’ll take the bullet and volunteer to be his food taster.

elifino on July 6, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Amazing how much clearer Kennedy’s thinking has been now that there is a Chief Justice who can express clear, logical arguments. The libs hope that Kagan can ‘sway’ him back to their side with her ‘logic’… Wait they seriously think this, let me laugh harder. Thanks to Barry being a petulant child, I suspect Kennedy, when he does decide to retire (2013 being a shot across the bow versus date certain), realizing he was too intellectually honest with people who never had the intention of being so, he will spend his last year ridiculing the ‘logic’ of Barry’s appointees whenever possible in his opinions.

phreshone on July 6, 2010 at 4:34 PM

Don’t we have a picture of Kennedy scratching his head with his middle finger?

dirtseller on July 6, 2010 at 4:43 PM

What a revoltin’ development – right Barry?

50sGuy on July 6, 2010 at 11

Right ON BAMSTAA !!!!! MY MAIN MAN !!!

50cent

cableguy615 on July 6, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Dear Justice Kennedy, bless you!
Take your vitamins.
Eat your Wheaties.
Watch your back.

Mary in LA on July 6, 2010 at 7:46 PM

In the future when he rules the wrong way, I will try to be less annoyed. Wouldn’t you love to know what he thinks of the ladies Mr. Obama has chosen for the Court?

Cindy Munford on July 6, 2010 at 9:00 PM

Kennedy gave Barry a pretty good slap, calls him out as a one-termer. So, Barry, go put some ice on it !

bayview on July 6, 2010 at 9:13 PM

With this news, I prefer to think of him as Reagan’s prodigal coming back home to roost in the conservative branch.

AH_C on July 6, 2010 at 9:45 PM

He is one guy who can undo everything ZERO has done !!!

aniladesai on July 6, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Best of health to you, Mr. Kennedy.

SouthernGent on July 7, 2010 at 12:13 AM

God help us if he or any of the other conservatives die before
Nov. or 2012

G. on July 7, 2010 at 12:27 AM

Yeah, yeah, but Kennedy is an unreliable, and certainly no Conservative. As far as I’m concerned, he’s nothing but another liberal, just not as far left as the others that are unethically occupying space on the Court for the purpose of legislating from the bench.

Virus-X on July 6, 2010 at 1:32 PM

What ever it is that you have been taking, I would say, stop while you still have a little IQ left.

Slowburn on July 7, 2010 at 5:06 AM

There is NO evidence Kennedy’s decision was influenced by Obama’s arrogant insult during the SOTU – that was just speculation in the article, without source or basis.
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It seems more likely that Kennedy merely can see reality before him, what Obama has done in only 17 months, the laughable quality of his SCOTUS nominees (someone should market “Wise Latina” pinatas, before long they will be hugely popular), and decided to tough it out for the benefit of the country.
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But that reading involves giving some credit to a person who has often disagreed with the conservative position, and in the recent atmosphere, the attitude of the Stalinists seems sometimes to prevail on our side as well.

Adjoran on July 7, 2010 at 5:33 AM

Did this POTUS go to law school? Really?

The dumbest and most rude SOTU address ever!

IlikedAUH2O on July 7, 2010 at 7:25 AM

Hopefully Obamacare deathpanel won’t pull the plug on Justice Ginsberg’s life support until after 2012.

curved space on July 7, 2010 at 7:38 AM

A man who refuses to choose the lesser of evils often finds himself with the greater.

Merovign

I did not say I would not support the lesser of two evils, but if the fools of the GOP continue to follow dolts like Linday Graham, and even the re-born Reaganite, McCain, then are they any different that the circus clowns currently in charge of the show. And as far as the court goes, maybe some of the clods in the electorate are finally finding out that elections have consequences. Kagan will be on. Hopefully Kennedy, as questionable as some of his decisions have been, none have been as wildly deviant as those of Ginsburg or what we will see from Kagan, can hang on until the current half-wit in the White House is replaced by some 3/4 wit with some semblence of understanding of the Constitution. But at the moment I see no member of either party that has even that.

georgeofthedesert on July 7, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Thanks for being a sanctimonious idiot Mr. President.

itsspideyman on July 7, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Ginsburg will step down before Obama leaves office to ensure him a third far-left pick, which is why it is essential the rest hang on. Even Breyer is preferable to whoever Obama might pick next (they aren’t going to get any better).
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I’m a Graham-hater from shortly after he entered the Senate, but calling him a RINO only identifies the accuser as a moron. The guy has a lifetime ACU rating of over 89.

Adjoran on July 7, 2010 at 3:25 PM

And Bob Dole is currently competing with John McCain in my head as the worst Republican presidential candidate in my life time.

NotCoach on July 6, 2010 at 11:25 AM

In a field that includes John Kerry?

tom on July 7, 2010 at 6:21 PM

How come lefty tools like Obama are never outrageously outraged at how much political influence unions have the same way they are about corporations?

Oh, that’s right. Never mind.

NoLeftTurn on July 8, 2010 at 12:42 AM

I didn’t say Graham was a RINO, I said he was a fool. He is. Like many of his Democrat friends he is also an attorney. Prime example of the kind of people that are coming out of law school right now. The common sense of an sugar sprinkle on the top of an ice cream cone, and just about as much depth.

georgeofthedesert on July 8, 2010 at 8:52 AM

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