Washington (CNN) — Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who provided key votes for same sex-marriage, abortion access and affirmative action, will retire from the Supreme Court.
Kennedy’s decision to step down could transform the Supreme Court for generations. President Donald Trump will have his second opportunity to nominate a justice and will likely replace Kennedy with a young, conservative jurist. That would create a bloc of five staunch conservative justices who could move the court further to the right and cement a conservative majority for the foreseeable future.
The nomination battle will likely ignite a firestorm on Capitol Hill as it comes just a year after Republicans changed the rules of the senate in order to push through the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first nominee.