Swing vote on the Supreme Court will retire

Swing vote on the Supreme Court will retire

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The swing vote on the Supreme Court is going to retire. In his swearing-in remarks 30 years ago, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy called the Constitution the single fact, reality, idea, and moral principle that sets the United States apart from other nations now and throughout history.

Justice Kennedy has made the key vote on high-profile issues like abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance, and voting rights. His decision to step down could transform the court.

"It becomes very partisan and very political," said Curtis Parrish, FOX34 legal analyst. "Justice Kennedy, yes was seen as a swing vote justice, there were many times when he sided with the conservative faction of the court, sometimes he would vote with the liberal faction especially on issues about abortion and gay rights and those type of things." 

Justice Kennedy is now 81 years old and has spent three decades on the bench. He was a Ronald Reagan appointee who took the bench in 1988. Parrish said any time there is a vacancy in the Supreme Court there is always a sense of fear, regardless of party affiliation. 

"You are looking at a position that serves for life," said Parrish. "So if the president nominates somebody who is young, idealistic, they could serve on the court just as justice Kennedy did for 30 years." 

In a letter to President Trump, Justice Kennedy said his 43 years serving the federal judiciary has been his greatest honor. His retirement is effective July 31.

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