Travel ban, church-state case await action by Supreme Court

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 27, 2017

Lyle Denniston, a journalist who has covered the court for almost 60 years wrote of the possibility: "Although there have been no reliable signs that any of the Justices will announce retirement at the public session on Monday, rumors have continued to make the rounds that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who will be 81 in July, could reveal plans then to end his career".

The focus is on the Supreme Court as the high-stakes legal fight over President Donald Trump's travel ban awaits action by the justices. Kennedy's departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court.

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear another argument on the constitutionality of a provision in federal immigration law used to deport foreigners convicted of serious crimes. But several of his former clerks do think he may be contemplating retirement in the next year or so.

But Kennedy turns 81 next month and has been on the court for almost 30 years.

"Soon we'll know if rumors of Kennedy's retirement are accurate", one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, said on Twitter Friday.

In a highly watched religious liberty case, the court sided with a church that had sought a grant to put a soft surface on its preschool playground.

Missouri has since changed its policy under Republican Gov. Eric Greitens so that churches may now apply for the money. They made a decision to allow a limited version of President Donald Trump's ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries take effect and to set the case for argument in the fall.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, could play a pivotal role in both the travel ban and church playground cases.

In all, six cases that were argued between November and April remain undecided.

The justices will begin to hear cases again October 2.

If the eight justices are evenly divided, those cases could be argued a second time in the fall, with Gorsuch available to provide the tie-breaking vote.

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