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kennedy retires

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement Wednesday, giving President Trump the chance to name another justice to the country's highest court. Trump has already named one justice to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, after Republicans refused to hold a hearing for Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama's pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, until after the 2016 election.

Kennedy, 81, was a conservative-leaning swing vote on the bench for 30 years, and he wrote in his resignation letter to the president of his desire to "express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret, and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises."

Former President Ronald Reagan nominated Kennedy; the justice took his oath in 1988. Read his full resignation letter below. Jeva Lange