If Justice Anthony Kennedy Retires, Trump’s Legacy is Set

The final week of the Supreme Court session opens Monday, and with it comes rampant speculation that Justice Anthony Kennedy may call it quits.

If Kennedy does announce his retirement, it would almost certainly ensure not only a clear rightward swing in the Court but would also cement a major part of Donald Trump’s legacy barely five months into his first term.

The best days Trump had on the campaign trail were all centered on the Supreme Court. His May release of a list of 11 people he would nominate to fill the opening created by the death of Antonin Scalia served as a major rallying point for GOP primary voters still wary of backing someone who was a very recent convert to their way of thinking.

When his campaign was flagging last fall, Trump returned to a familiar strategy — putting out a wider list of 21 names he might choose to be the next member of the nation’s highest court.

And Trump’s single best day as president came on February 1 when he announced Neil Gorsuch as his pick to replace Scalia.

Why was the Court Trump’s biggest crutch with Republican voters both during the campaign and now? Just ask him!

“If you really like Donald Trump, that’s great, but if you don’t, you have to vote for me anyway,” Trump told GOP voters in Iowa almost a year ago. “You know why? Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court judges. Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice.”

The point was — and is — this: Whether or not conservatives loved or even liked Trump, he would nominate people to the Supreme Court who were considerably more conservative than the people Hillary Clinton would choose. And, the power to nominate justices to the Court mattered more now than ever before because so many of current members were, well, old.

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SOURCE: CNN, Chris Cillizza