Rumors have been ubiquitous in the nation’s capital as to whether another Supreme Court vacancy is on the horizon. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said in February that the “odds are very good” that at least one justice would be retiring. The signs appear to point to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who will be turning 81 this summer.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, contributed to the speculation this week.
“I would expect a resignation this summer,” he said Tuesday at an event in Muscatine, Iowa.
He wouldn’t say who he thinks the exiting justice will be, but he did note where his successor would come from.
A person would likely be nominated from the same list from which recently appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch was chosen, Grassley said, most of whom he said are well-qualified.
“I don’t know about racial and ethnic divisions, but there’s some very good females on there that would make good Supreme Court Justices as well,” he said.
Kennedy isn’t the only elderly justice on the court, nor the only one who may be getting a bit exhausted by the bench. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84 and Justice Stephen Breyer is 78 years old. Clarence Thomas is 68, but has served on the court for over 25 years.
Justice Kennedy swore in his old law clerk Neil Gorsuch last week as the court’s newest associate justice. In his first week on the court hearing oral arguments, Gorsuch has kept his nerves in check and received compliments from the media for his sagacious line of questioning.