When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27, the country was alight with mixed reactions: Democrats were anxious to lose what had become an often-critical swing vote, while President Donald Trump and other Republicans were excited to put another conservative on the bench.
While serving almost three decades as a justice, Kennedy had presented relatively liberal stances toward numerous issues, including gay rights, abortion and gun control.
“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,” he wrote to Trump in a short, hand-delivered letter.
On Monday, July 9, Trump made his announcement: He was recommending conservative Brett Kavanaugh to replace Kennedy. A graduate of both Yale and Yale Law, Kavanaugh has served as a judge on the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2006. Despite his experience, many on both sides of the aisle have expressed their doubts that he is right for the job.
Among those concerned include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who worries that Kavanaugh’s long career will produce an excess amount of documents for the Senate to examine, making a speedy confirmation process unlikely. Meanwhile, Democrats fear that the addition of another Republican to the Supreme Court will mean threats to topics like reproductive rights and immigration reform.
Below are a selection of titles for readers interested in the history of the Supreme Court available in the HEB collection.
From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: the Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality
By Michael J. Klarman: Read
Summer For The Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion
By Edward J. Larson: Read
The Character of Justice: Rhetoric, Law, and Politics in the Supreme Court Confirmation Process
By Trevor Parry-Giles: Read
Abortion and Woman's Choice: The State, Sexuality, and Reproductive Freedom
By Rosalind Pollack Petchesky: Read
Trumping Religion: The New Christian Right, The Free Speech Clause, and the Courts
By Steven P. Brown: Read
Legalizing Gender Inequality: Courts, Markets, and Unequal Pay for Women in America
By Robert L. Nelson and William P. Bridges: Read