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Jim Obergefell ‘feeling somewhat despondent’ over Kennedy retirement

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The plaintiff in the case that legalized gay marriage nationwide said Thursday he’s feeling “despondent” about the potential consequences of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. 

James Obergefell, whose landmark case led to a Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, told CNN’s “New Day” that he’s worried Kennedy’s retirement will lead to the court reconsidering the law.

“I don’t think the word ‘devastated’ is too strong of a word upon hearing this news. I’m actually feeling somewhat despondent about what this means for the LGBTQ community and marriage for millions of Americans,” Obergefell said.

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President Trump said shortly after the 2016 election that rulings like Obergefell had been determined and he didn’t intend to relitigate them. 

However, Obergefell noted that Trump often changes his mind.

“I’m not sure I believe anything that comes out of the president’s mouth,” he said. 

“I have to believe there are people behind pushing him that will force this issue and bring this back up for a vote or a hearing, and that really concerns me,” he added.

Kennedy, 81, announced Wednesday that he intends to retire effective July 31, leaving after 30 years on the court. The decision provides Trump with the chance to nominate another conservative justice, further altering the judicial landscape for years to come.

Kennedy was considered a more centrist judge, as he sided with Democrat-appointed justices on key issues, such as same-sex marriage and abortion rights.

Trump told reporters after meeting with Kennedy that he plans to begin the search for a replacement “immediately,” adding that the pick will come from the White House’s previously released list of 25 candidates.

Tags Case law Donald Trump Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court vacancy
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