Currently, the Supreme Court is full with all nine seats on the bench filled, but rumors are circulating that one of those seats may be coming open in the near future. Here is a list of current Supreme Court Justices, their ages and political leaning:
John Roberts, Chief Justice, is currently 62-years-old. Although he was originally considered a conservative appointed by George W. Bush, however, over the past several years, he has become more of a moderate, leaning to both conservative and liberal views depending on the issue.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Associate Justice, is currently 84-years-old. Some reports say she is in fine health and other reports suggest she has some growing health issues. She is a flaming liberal appointed by Bill Clinton with no intention of retiring during Trump’s presidency.
Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice, is currently 80-years-old. He was a conservative when appointed by Ronald Reagan, but has sided with liberals on several occasions.
Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice, is currently 78-years-old. He is another liberal Bill Clinton appointee who seems determined to continue to serve as long as he can.
Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, is currently 69-years-old and the only black American on the bench. He is a conservative, appointed by George H.W. Bush.
Samuel Alito, Associate Justice, is currently 67-years-old. He is a conservative appointed by George W. Bush.
Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, is currently 62-years-old. She is a flaming liberal appointed by Barack Obama. She rules more on agenda than on the law and has refused to recuse herself from cases where she clearly should have.
Elana Kagan, Associate Justice, is currently 57-years-old. She is another flaming liberal appointed by Barack Obama who also rules on agenda instead of law and also has refused to recuse herself when she should have.
Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice, is currently 49-years-old. He is a conservative, appointed by Donald Trump.
If Ginsberg has no intention of resigning from the Supreme Court, then who might be in the near future? Rumors suggest that Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy may be retiring from the court within the next year. One of the reasons for the rumors is that he has moved up a reunion with all of his clerks to this past weekend. The reunion was originally scheduled for next year.
Kennedy was thought to be a conservative, but has lately sided with liberals on several key issues one of which was the Obergefell v. Hodges case that legalized same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court vote was 5-4 in favor of the gay couple. Justices Roberts Scalia Thomas and Alito voted against it. Many believe that Kennedy cast the pivotal vote that sided with the liberals on the issue.
If Kennedy retires, it would give President Trump the opportunity to nominate his second member of the Supreme Court. Many pushed Trump to nominate a moderate last time to appease Democrats, but that was before Senate Republicans opted to use the ‘nuclear option’ and change the rules for confirming a Supreme Court Justice. That paved the way for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch. With confirmation only needing 51 votes in the Senate instead of 67, Trump could nominate another staunch conservative and Democrats would not be able to block the confirmation.
With Kennedy’s somewhat moderate to liberal leanings of late, putting another conservative on the high court could make a huge difference in many future high-profile cases.