With Wednesday ‘s announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy would be retiring, Washington, practically lit up conservative joy. Conservative joy that was aimed at the fact, that, Trump now has a chance to make the SCOTUS almost entirely conservative.
Kennedy had always been the swing-vote of the court. In his 30-years on the court, he had often been the deciding factor in a number of the court’s most decisive acts in history. Gay marriage; gun rights, but most famously that of criminal justice. During his term, he was one of the most vocal opponents of the death penalty and continued solitary confinement.
It had always been a known fact that Kennedy, a slight-liberal of sorts, had felt that both practices were unethical and often violated a number of civil rights that are afforded to Americans in their everyday lives.
With him gone, hum, that could all be very different in the near distant future. With a majority conservative SCOTUS (and no swing deciding vote) conservatives would ultimately have total control over what happens in the United States. The high court would be able to overturn some of the most landmark decisions in American history (i.e Roe v Wade, which is already rumored to be on the chopping block); and gay rights among a plethora of others.
Kennedy and the decisiveness on capital punishment
In 2015, for example, his key decision in one particular case formulated his overall thoughts on capital punishment and the legalities of it. In a 5-4 decision at the time, Kennedy argued that and successfully forced California to release tens of thousands of prisoners due to overcrowding. Some of those releases, ehum, resulted in the releasing of prisoners who were indeed standing death row for an array of crimes.
The scope of capital punishment
In 2008, Justice Kennedy had at the time penned a controversial decision. During that year, Kennedy argued that it was unconstitutional to impose the death penalty in cases of mere rape that didn’t include murder. Once again, as the swing-vote, his decision ultimately changed the course of the Supreme Court and the overall thought.