The Supreme Court justices will soon take their long summer break, but before they do, several major decisions could be made. First, the court may act on President Trump’s travel ban. They also may render a decision on an important case that focuses on the separation of church and state.
But all eyes are on something that could overshadow both of those important decisions in high profile cases: Justice Anthony Kennedy could use this last public session on Monday to announce his retirement.
Justice Kennedy has not given any public sign that he is going to step down this year. But Kennedy turns 81 next month and has served on the nation’s highest court for nearly 30 years. Several of his law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down soon. But Kennedy did not address the retirement rumors when he and his clerks gathered over the weekend for a reunion. But the decision to push the reunion up by a year sparked talk that he might be leaving the court.
Kennedy’s departure would give President Trump his second Supreme Court pick in just the first months of his tenure as president. It would also allow conservatives to take firm control of the court. Multiple news networks v
The justices will also be expected on Monday to decide the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Missouri. It was excluded from a state grant program to pay for soft surfaces on playgrounds run by not-for-profit groups. This case has implications for advocates of school vouchers who hope that a decision will make it easier to use state money to pay for private, religious schooling in states that now prohibit it.
It is also expected that there will be a ruling on whether to allow the administration to immediately enforce a 90-day ban on visitors from six mostly Muslim countries. Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, very well might play a pivotal role in both the travel ban and church and state cases. Previous hearings on these cases were heard by an eight-justice court before Gorsuch joined the bench in April. If the justices were evenly divided, those cases will be heard a second time in the Fall and Gorsuch could provide the tie-breaking vote.
As you can see, the decisions by both the justices and specifically Kennedy will have a major impact on the future.
Credit: Associated Press