Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on Wednesday, handing President Donald Trump a massive opportunity to sway the nation's highest court further to the right.
Kennedy was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and was considered a "swing" vote on the court because of his willingness to side with both liberal and conservative justices.
MSNBC's Chris Hayes, host of All In With Chris Hayes, tore into Kennedy Wednesday afternoon, opining that Kennedy "handing his seat over to Trump is the most perfect example *ever* about how "the GOP has completely become the "party of Trump."
"Kennedy looks down from SCOTUS and sees the man in the White House and says, "'Yes. Him. I want him to be the one to choose my replacement.'"
Kennedy handing his seat over to Trump is the most perfect example *ever* about how it is all the party of Trump. A… https://t.co/kZXowmq2xj— Chris Hayes (@Chris Hayes) 1530122715.0
Kennedy's decision came right after the court effectively gutted public sector unions, ruling that requiring public employees to pay union dues was unconstitutional.
@chrislhayes I am old. I lived through Watergate, 1968/1969. I was 2 blocks from the Twin Towers on 9/11. This is t… https://t.co/vdcli36CR1— Dara Hunt (@Dara Hunt) 1530123139.0
Trump's appointment will certainly be young, very conservative, and side with the court's four other right-wing justices. With this comes the real possibility that the Affordable Care Act could face more gutting, a now likely overturning of Roe v. Wade, and even a potential reversal of marriage equality, for which Kennedy cast the deciding vote ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutionally protected right.
The Voting Rights Act is at risk too, and the court ruled on Monday that gerrymandered Texas congressional districts could remain in place, despite their obvious partisan boundaries.
Hopes that Senate Democrats could delay the appointment of a new justice are fleeting, because Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) changed the confirmation rules in 2016 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Trump said on Wednesday afternoon he plans on getting a new justice nominated and confirmed before November's midterms, and there's little reason to believe McConnell will hold himself to his own standard or wait for the people to cast their votes.
@EricaJPeters @btw910 @elmhirst_jamie @chrislhayes LOL at the idea they aren't going to ram whoever it is through b… https://t.co/CMK7NnZfY7— ocerg t. (@ocerg t.) 1530123967.0
McConnell effectively stole a court seat from President Barack Obama, claiming that it was too close to the presidential election and that the American people should decide.
@chrislhayes 1) More importantly, it reinforces the reality that elections have consequences, and when there is a d… https://t.co/bdfYodD41A— Melissa (@Melissa) 1530122928.0