Three pieces of information have some saying Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is planning to retire next year. The events were highlighted in a tweet by Adam Liptak, Supreme Court reporter for The New York Times:
— Adam Liptak (@adamliptak) November 11, 2016
The Salzburg reference is to McGeorge Law’s Summer Program in Salzburg, Austria.
At Above the Law, David Lat reports that upon hearing this rumor a few weeks ago he checked his sources and determined that there wasn’t sufficient substance to merit a story about it the rumor.
But after the Donald Trump won the presidential election, and after two former clerks to Justice Scalia, Ed Whelan and Ian Samuel, tweeted about the possibility of another vacancy on the Supreme Court, Dat checked with the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office.
A spokesperson for the Court told the following:
Justice Kennedy is in the process of hiring clerks for 2017. The Justice didn’t go to Salzburg this past summer because it conflicted with some plans with his family, but he is scheduled to return to teach there in 2017. The reunion is scheduled for the end of this Term because the Justice’s law clerks wanted to hold it during the Justice’s 80th year to mark his birthday.
That convinced Lat that the rumor was just that. But Lat does point out that it is possible that Justice Kennedy actually is planning to retire next year, but doesn’t want the world to know just yet.
With Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy in their 80’s and Justice Breyer in his late 70’s, any of them might leave the Court during the Trump Presidency.