Justice Anthony Kennedy Retires (1988–2018)
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More than any single ruling, the retirement of Justice Kennedy may be the most influential event of the last term. Kennedy offers dual legacies: often described as a swing vote, but on the whole more conservative than not; defender of free speech and of gay rights, which came into conflict in one of his last major decisions in Masterpiece Cakeshop; loved and hated by many as author of both Obergefell and Citizens United; Justice Kennedy emerged in the tumultuous conflict over the nomination of arch-conservative Robert Bork, and his departure spurred the public conflict over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. Kennedy’s legacies are a reflection of the divided political and constitutional culture of contemporary politics.