McConnell Statement on Retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy

‘The Senate will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding today’s announcement from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy that he will retire on July 31, 2018:  

“Just a few moments ago, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he is retiring as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and taking senior status, effective July 31st. First and foremost, I want to pause and express our gratitude for the extraordinary service that Justice Kennedy has offered our nation. He has served on the federal bench for 43 years.

“In particular, we owe him a debt of thanks for his ardent defense of the First Amendment right to political speech. As Justice Kennedy concludes his tenure on the Court, we wish him, his wife Mary, and their family every happiness in the years ahead.

“The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent on President Trump’s nominee to fill this vacancy. We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall. As in the case of Justice Gorsuch, Senators will have the ‎opportunity to meet with President Trump’s nominee, examine his or her qualifications, and debate the nomination.

“I have every confidence in Chairman Grassley’s conduct of the upcoming confirmation process in the Judiciary Committee. It is imperative that the president’s nominee be considered fairly and not be subjected to personal attacks. Thus far, President Trump’s judicial nominations have reflected a keen understanding of the vital role that judges play in our constitutional order.

“Judges must interpret the law fairly and apply it even-handedly. Judicial decisions must not flow from judges’ personal philosophies or ‎preferences, but from the honest assessment of the words and actual meaning of the law.

“This bedrock principle has clearly defined the president’s excellent choices to date. So we will look forward to yet another outstanding selection. But today, the Senate and the nation thank Justice Kennedy for his years of service on the bench, and for his many contributions to jurisprudence and to our nation.”

Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Nominations, Supreme Court