The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (“NCADV”) is saddened to hear of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s impending retirement. Justice Kennedy is a deliberate juror, keeping an open mind and giving a fair hearing to all arguments and doing his best to rule based on the merits of each case. Although we do not always agree with his decisions, we appreciate the thoughtfulness with which he fulfills the formidable responsibility placed on his shoulders and on the shoulders of his colleagues on the Supreme Court. His focus on finding common ground with his colleagues is admirable.
Justice Kennedy was a key player in several cases that helped LGBTQ victims and survivors emerge from the shadows. For example, he authored the Court’s opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, allowing gay male victims to reach out to law enforcement without fear of facing criminal charges themselves for engaging in sexual activity with a same-sex partner. He was also the author of two five-four decisions of paramount importance in United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges, which ultimately led to the recognition that same sex couples had the same right to the privileges and joy of marriage as heterosexual couples nationwide. These decisions brought LGBTQ individuals fully into the life of communities across the country.
We cannot turn back from the progress we have made in recognizing the human rights of the most vulnerable in our nation. Nor should we devolve into partisanship when so many people are in such need of support and protection. We urge President Trump to take an important step toward unifying a divided country by nominating a consensus candidate to replace Justice Kennedy. We urge the Senate to do the same by setting aside partisanship and rejecting any candidate for the Supreme Court who is not acceptable to a bipartisan majority of Senators. As the voice of victims and survivors, NCADV will take a strong stand in support of any candidate who will, in turn, take a stand for victims and survivors, as well as others in our society who are vulnerable; we will oppose any candidate who will be harmful the goals of safety and support of each other.
NCADV thanks Justice Kennedy for his many years of distinguished service and we wish him the best in his retirement. We look forward to working with the Administration and the Senate to confirm a replacement who upholds the highest standards of American jurisprudence and renders fair and impartial judgements.