ADL Statement on Retirement of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy

New York, NY, June 29, 2018 … Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt issued the following statement following the announcement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement:

"While often the fifth and deciding vote on many cases, Associate Justice Kennedy has been an important voice on key cases throughout his 30 years of distinguished service on the Court.  He has affected a broad range of civil rights decisions including reproductive freedom, affirmative action, and criminal justice.  He will be especially remembered for authoring virtually every Supreme Court decision advancing rights for LGBT individuals, including the landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges upholding marriage equality.   At the same time, Justice Kennedy also has disappointed us in the past, including his deciding vote in 2013 gutting a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and most recently, his vote to uphold the President’s discriminatory Muslim Ban. 

“We will work to ensure that Justice Kennedy’s retirement does not jeopardize hard-fought progress in securing our civil rights and civil liberties.  In our view, the Senate’s role in the confirmation process is equally important as the President’s role in proposing a nominee. Informed by their constitutional obligations as well as past precedent, we would urge the leadership of both parties to agree publicly on process moving forward.  The Senate then should carefully scrutinize in a bipartisan manner whoever the President nominates and confirm only a nominee who is fair-minded and respects basic principles of equality, independence, church-state separation, and civil rights.  It is important to ensure that the Supreme Court will be sustained as an apolitical body whose judgments serve the interests of all Americans."

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.