'Profound gratitude' for 'privilege' of serving on SCOTUS: Kennedy in letter to Trump

PHOTO: Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy arrives for the funeral of fellow Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Feb. 20, 2016 in Washington, D.C.PlayChip Somodevilla/Getty Images, FILE
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Justice Anthony Kennedy hand-delivered his letter to President Donald Trump Wednesday saying he is retiring after more than three decades on the nation's highest court.

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The court also announced his retirement – effective July 31 – in a statement Wednesday, noting his decision to step aside was largely based on his desire to spend more time with his family.

PHOTO: Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy administers the judicial oath to Judge Neil Gorsuch as President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House, April 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.Eric Thayer/Getty Images, FILE
Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy administers the judicial oath to Judge Neil Gorsuch as President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House, April 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

An ideological conservative, Kennedy has frequently been the swing vote in high-profile cases, including Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court’s landmark 2015 decision to uphold the legality of gay marriage in all 50 states. Kennedy also cast the deciding vote in the controversial 2010 Citizens United v. FEC case, which prohibited restrictions on independent campaign finance expenditures.

In his letter to President Donald Trump, Kennedy expressed “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.”

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