Be it intentional or not, Justice Breyer just created a twitterstorm with one simple comment.
While discussing a political gerrymandering case, Justice Breyer made the suggestion of moving all three gerrymandering cases for reargument, meaning pushing them back to the next term.
By doing this, he may be forcing the 81-year-old Justice Kennedy to hang in a little longer (there have been more than a few rumors Kennedy is going to retire).
Blocking Trump Appointments
As it stands, the Supreme Court currently has five conservative-oriented justices and four liberal-oriented justices.
Any justice that retires or passes away within the next year will surely be replaced by President Trump.
That, of course, would be a huge blow to the liberal cause.
Kennedy could present a swing back to a liberal Supreme Court, IF he puts off his retirement.
The gerrymandering cases seem to have a soft spot for Kennedy.
During a previous case, he took up his own position, saying the Supreme Court should not yet get involved in this process, calling it unconstitutional to do so.
If he is truly passionate about keeping these cases out of the Supreme Court, he may stay just long enough to prevent Trump from naming his replacement.
For Trump to have conservative justices appointed, Republicans will have to keep a majority in Congress.
As it stands right now, that may be in jeopardy, meaning any appointments made after the new seats are taken could get blocked if Democrats win the majority.
Kennedy is likely the only conservative justice that will end his term during Trump’s presidency.
However, there are two liberal spots that may come into play, with Ginsburg being 85 and Breyer being 79.
While it is unlikely either of those will retire with Trump as president, their health may force the issue, especially if Trump wins a second term.
Breyer’s recommendation is nothing more than a stall to prevent Trump from keeping a conservative tilt to the Supreme Court.
If Kennedy is considering retirement, he surely is smart enough to realize he must do it soon to ensure another conservative takes his spot.