Justice Anthony Kennedy reveals retirement, giving Trump 2nd Supreme Court choice

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The 81-year-old Kennedy said he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the Supreme Court.( p data-widget-type=embed data-video-id=5802697409001 data-video-domain=foxnews) (a href=http://video.foxnews.com/v/5802697409001/justice-kennedy-announces-plan-to-retire) (img src ="http://a57.foxnews.com/media2.foxnews.com/BrightCove/694940094001/2018/06/27/896/504/694940094001_5802672418001_5802697409001-vs.jpg?ve=1&tl=1"alt ="The 81-year-old Kennedy stated he is stepping down after more than Thirty Years on the Supreme Court.") Video (a href = http://video.foxnews.com/v/5802697409001/justice-kennedy-announces-plan-to-retire) Justice Kennedy reveals strategy to retire The 81-year-old Kennedy said he is stepping down after more than Thirty Years on the Supreme Court. Justice Anthony Kennedy revealed Wednesday that he is retiring, offering President Trump a crucial opportunity to move the Supreme Court more solidly to the right in exactly what promises to be a legendary confirmation fight.

The 81-year-old senior associate justice notified the White House in a letter of his objective to step down from the high court after Thirty Years, reliable July 31. Reports of another vacancy have actually resounded throughout Washington in recent months, and it comes a year after Kennedy's former law clerk Justice Neil Gorsuch, took control of the seat occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Trump, responding to the news, called Kennedy a "great justice" and stated he 'd start the look for a replacement immediately.

Probably the most effective member of the Supreme Court, Kennedy's moderate-conservative views often left him the "swing"-- or deciding-- vote in hot-button cases varying from abortion to gay rights to political campaign costs.

A Supreme Court vacancy will likely end up being a crucial problem in a midterm congressional election year, when control of the Senate is at stake.

That body will consider Trump's latest high court nominee, needing just a simple bulk for verification. GOP leaders altered the guidelines when Gorsuch was being thought about, to get rid of the 60-vote procedural filibuster threshold.

However Democrats are anticipated to try and change the court opening into a wider political referendum on Trump's leadership, and the future of social concerns like immigration, weapon rights and race.

Republicans, for their part, hope Kennedy's replacement helps them in the November elections.

Kennedy was chosen to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and sworn in the list below year.

While typically voting with the court's conservative bloc, he has actually been an essential swing vote in a variety of cases and occasionally agreed the court's liberal wing, particularly on issues such a gay rights an abortion. A lot of notably, he composed the 2015 ruling on Obergefell v Hodges, which discovered that a restriction on same-sex marital relationship was unconstitutional.

His retirement had actually been rumored recently, with numerous of his previous clerks having stated they believed he was thinking about stepping down.

While it is unclear whom Trump will choose, the ultimate nominee is most likely to face resistance from Senate Democrats-- who are still bristling from Senate Republicans' blockade of Obama-pick Merrick Garland in 2016 and would balk at the possibility of Trump solidifying the conservative bloc on the court.

Kennedy's retirement comes as both Gorsuch and Kennedy were key votes in two questionable decisions this week-- upholding Trump's 'travel ban' and ruling against union's 'reasonable share' charges.

Both decisions were 5-4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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