WASHINGTON – President Obama may get liberal Elena Kagan on the Supreme Court, but conservative swing-voter Anthony Kennedy says he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
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.
With the retirement of fellow Stanford graduate Sandra Day O’Connor in 2006, Kennedy has inherited O’Connor’s mantle as the court’s swing vote.
His voting pattern suggests he’s actually become a far more reliable vote for the conservatives.
Assuming the report is true, Ed Morrissey sees a possible revenge angle to Kennedy staying the course until 2013:
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.
You see, President Obama, words matter – they have consequences.
Let’s pray that Obama will be gone in 2013