Tweets About Justice Anthony Kennedy Retiring Speak To How Much Is At Stake Now

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On Wednesday afternoon, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. And on Twitter, reactions to the news were far from optimistic.

Kennedy is 81 years old, and is finishing up his his 30th year as a Supreme Court justice. Though he was appointed by a Republican president, his judicial decisions have often been difficult to predict. In the wake of his absence, the Trump administration will undoubtedly move to fill his spot with a more reliably conservative justice, shifting the court's ideological bent to the right.

News of Kennedy's retirement comes immediately after the court ruled on several high profile and controversial cases. But though his announcement was certainly jarring for the political establishment, it did not come entirely as a surprise. Rumors that Kennedy would soon retire, perhaps as soon as this year, have been circulating throughout Washington for months.

So serious were the rumors that The New York Times published an editorial nearly begging that Kennedy not leave his post, lest he, according to the Editorial Board, give his "seat to a president whose campaign and administration are under criminal investigation, whose closest aides have been indicted or have pleaded guilty to federal crimes."

Reports indicate that Congress and the administration will move to quickly fill his vacancy. It will undoubtedly become a serious political battle.

Removing Hope

Kennedy's retirement was announced on the same day that a socialist candidate in New York made electoral history.

Game Over?

Some suggested that Kennedy's retirement was the ultimate win for the current administration.

And The Handmaid's Tale

Handmaid's Tale references made an appearance, as they often do.

Taking Over The News Cycle

Some users expressed concern that Kennedy's retirement would usurp important coverage of the ongoing immigration crisis.

Remembering How The Last Confirmation Went Down

Many called to wait until after the midterm elections before confirming a new justice.

"Worst Kennedy News Ever"

And that is quite a statement.

Going To Follow McConnell's precedent?

The midterm elections were a common theme.

Altering History

Supreme Court justices tend to have a major impact on the law of the land.

Concern About Reproductive Rights

Many expressed concern that reproductive health rights may come under fire if and when a conservative justice is appointed.

Talk Of Leaving The Country

Some discussed expatriating.

We're In This Together

Kennedy's retirement generated a unifying type of concern.

The Party Of Trump

Many grappled with Kennedy retiring when he knows that Trump is on deck to select his successor.

A Dumpster Fire

Whether or not Kennedy's retirement will affect Roe v Wade was an immediate concern.

Feeling Bitter

A lot of people expressed frustration that the Trump administration will be able to choose a successor.

Giving The Court To Trump

Some suggested that Kennedy's decision to retire was a calculated choice.

A Very Dramatic Analogy

On Twitter, some just felt straight-up abandoned.

All Eyes On RBG

Poor RBG!

A Red Hen Crack

Too soon?

What An Age Difference

Kennedy wasn't even the oldest sitting Supreme Court Justice.

At Least Memes

The mood on Twitter was not very light.

For many on Twitter, news of Kennedy's retirement elicited frustration, as well as concern about the ongoing character shift among the country's leadership. One thing that is definitely certain is that it's gearing up to be a very interesting summer.