- The Washington Times - Friday, March 9, 2018

Sen. Dean Heller is predicting Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will retire this summer, and is hoping it will lead to a surge of GOP voters.

His comments were part of a recording obtained by Politico.com and were from a Las Vegas event last week.

Guessing Justice Kennedy’s retirement has been a favorite game of court-watchers and Capitol Hill denizens for years, and he has repeatedly frustrated predictions.

Mr. Heller did not seem to suggest any personal knowledge in the comments reported by Politico, but instead seemed to be hoping for such an event, figuring it would energize the GOP base ahead of what’s expected to be a very difficult re-election for him.

Kennedy is going to retire around sometime early summer,” Mr. Heller said, according to the report. “Which I’m hoping will get our base a little motivated because right now they’re not very motivated. But I think a new Supreme Court justice will get them motivated.”

Justice Kennedy was appointed to the high court in 1987 and for more than a decade has been seen as the critical swing vote in the center of an otherwise polarized court. He took over that position after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor retired in 2006.

Replacing him could be a vicious battle, with Democrats mounting a fierce resistance to anyone President Trump would appoint, figuring it would shift the court significantly to the right.

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