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Justice Kennedy Retiring; Trump Gets 2nd Supreme Court Pick

The 81-year-old Kennedy said he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File
In this March 23, 2015, file photo, Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy testifies before a House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The 81-year-old Kennedy said Tuesday, June 27, 2018, that he is retiring after more than 30 years on the court. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy say Wednesday he is retiring, giving President Donald Trump the chance to cement conservative control of the high court.

The 81-year-old Kennedy said he is stepping down after more than 30 years on the court. A Republican appointee, he has held the key vote on such high-profile issues as abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, guns, campaign finance and voting rights.

Without him, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans. Trump's nominee is likely to give the conservatives a solid majority and will face a Senate process in which Republicans hold the slimmest majority, but Democrats can't delay confirmation.

Trump's first high court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, was confirmed in April 2017.

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