Expert: Kennedy’s retirement from Supreme Court could impact civil liberties

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WHITE PLAINS -

A Pace University law professor believes Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the Supreme Court could impact civil liberties.

Pace University law professor Emily Gold Waldman says Kennedy was one of the most significant judges, often acting as the fifth vote.

"When we think about abortion, affirmative action, same-sex issues, he was the leader in that, he was the deciding vote,” she says.

Kennedy often controlled the outcome of cases that were considered hot-button issues because he was often the swing vote between the four liberal justices and the four more conservative justices.

The 81-year-old's retirement opens the door for President Donald Trump to reshape the ideological makeup of the highest court in the country.

With a Republican majority House and Senate, Goldman predicts after the new appointment, many civil liberty cases already decided by the Supreme Court may be revisited.

“I think depending on who this new justice is you could see some cases getting looked at and some old cases getting reversed,” she says.

Sen. Chuck Schumer says his Republican colleagues should follow the rule they set in 2016 - not to consider a Supreme justice in an election year.

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