Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy–a conservative-leaning swing vote–is retiring, giving President Donald Trump another nominee.
Kennedy, 81, announced on Wednesday that he would step down at the end of July.
In a statement, Kennedy said that it has been “the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years in the Supreme Court.”
Kennedy also sent a letter to Trump, telling him that he was stepping down.
“For a member of the legal profession, it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court,” Kennedy wrote to Trump. “Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.”
Kennedy’s retirement will have a mammoth impact on the future of the Supreme Court, given his reputation for being a swing justice.
It also gives Trump a second opportunity to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Trump’s first pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch, has been a consistent conservative vote–even though his path to the nomination attracted controversy.
According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose chamber confirms the President’s pick for Supreme Court, Kennedy will be replaced in the fall.