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kennedy retires

Does Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement spell the end for Roe v. Wade?

President Trump has long vowed to appoint judges who will overturn the landmark 1973 abortion-rights decision Roe v. Wade, and he seemingly has an opening as of Wednesday, with the retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. "Abortion will be illegal in 20 states in 18 months," tweeted The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin. Vox's Dylan Matthews added, "I'm not as confident as Jeff but the odds are like 70 to 80 percent."

Kennedy was a conservative-leaning swing vote on the bench. Trump has already nominated one conservative judge, Neil Gorsuch, after Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama's nominee following the 2016 death of Antonin Scalia.

During a 2016 presidential debate, when asked about overturning Roe v. Wade, Trump had said: "Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that's really what's going to be — that will happen. And that'll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination." Trump said Wednesday that the search for Kennedy's replacement will begin immediately.