After Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he would retire from his position in late July, some may have a question on their minds: When does the next Supreme Court term start? The timing of the new term for the Supreme Court reveals a statute that may be interesting to some people. According to the Supreme Court, its new term begins on the first Monday in October every year. For the upcoming new term, that would be Oct. 1, 2018.
In such a term, the Supreme Court's efforts and time are mainly divided over two types of sessions, which are sittings and recesses. In the case of sittings, the Supreme Court delves into different cases and assesses them accordingly. On the other hand, in the case of recesses, the Supreme Court website states that it is the time when it "consider[s] the business before the Court and write[s] opinions."
The Supreme Court's term ends in the next year's late June or early July. You may be wondering why the first Monday of October is selected for the commencement of the new Supreme Court term. This particular date for the most powerful court in the United States began as part of a judicial code in September, 1916.
On June 27, Kennedy announced his intention to retire in the end of July — leaving behind a much sought-after and soon-to-be empty seat in the Supreme Court. Both liberals and conservatives remain aware of the power of Kennedy's position in the Supreme Court, particularly considering how he used it to swing votes on the issues of affirmative action, abortion rights, and LGBTQ rights.
With Kennedy retiring from his position, the next Supreme Court term could look drastically different from the previous year, particularly given the fact that President Donald Trump already voiced his plans to select a pick from his list of 25 nominees. Last year, the president created the list with the help of the right-wing Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, which includes names from Georgia and Oklahoma.
In simple words, with Kennedy — who already leaned on the conservative side — leaving the Supreme Court and Trump selecting a right-wing candidate, the most potent and highest branch of justice in the United States could be given an even more conservative judge. This person would be more likely to push against civil rights protections for the marginalized, cut down on reproductive health care for women, and push against protections for the working class.
Apprehensions about a drastically different Supreme Court have already been aired on social media, including from figures like Chelsea Clinton. But in his announcement letter, Kennedy kept it neutral. "This letter is a respectful and formal notification of my decision, effective July 31 of this year, to end my regular active status as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, while continuing to serve in a senior status, as provided in 28 U.S.C. § 371 (b)," he wrote.
"For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honors to serve on this Court," he added. "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."
The current administration let the public know about its plans. On the day of his announcement, Trump told the press that he would "immediately" look for the next Supreme Court justice while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall."