UPDATE! VIDEO ADDED.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he will retire, letting President Donald Trump nominate a successor who could create the most conservative court in generations and put the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion-rights ruling at risk, Bloomberg News reports.
The court said Wednesday he will retire effective July 31.
Kennedy, an 81-year-old Ronald Reagan appointee, has been the court’s pivotal vote for the last decade, joining liberal justices to legalize gay marriage and voting with conservatives to throw out campaign-finance restrictions.
“For a member of the legal profession it is the highest on 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 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 Anthony Kennedy to the high court in 1987. He was sworn in on Feb. 18, 1988.