Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring after more than 30 years on the high court.
For more than three decades he’s reigned as the black-robed justice in the middle, the super-cerebral conservative from California who riled the right for casting ideology aside and forging an independent path that frequently led him to concur with his more liberal colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court,” Kennedy said in a statement.
He said that while his family was willing to let him continue to serve on the Supreme Court, his decision to step down was based on his deep desire to spend more time with his loved ones.
In his formal letter to President Trump, Kennedy said his resignation would be effective July 31.
“For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court,” he wrote. “Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how to best know, interpret, and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises.”