Nancy Northup Statement on Justice Kennedy Retirement

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Said Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:

“Justice Kennedy’s retirement is devastating news at a divisive time in our nation and on the Supreme Court. A justice committed to liberty, equality, and dignity is needed more than ever. President Trump has promised to nominate Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. That promise should set off alarm bells for anyone who cares about women—and the Constitution.

“Justice Kennedy’s legacy is grounded in recognizing that the U.S. Constitution, at its core, protects our dignity, autonomy, bodily integrity, and personal decision-making. While he did not always rule for women in reproductive rights cases, he was the critical vote in two landmark decisions. Two years ago today, he joined the majority in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the most important abortion rights case in a generation, which struck down a Texas law that would have closed 75% of the state’s abortion clinics. And in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, instead of voting to overturn Roe v. Wade as some feared, Kennedy helped cement a woman’s right to make her own decisions about continuing or ending a pregnancy. Casey stood for liberty and equality, holding that ‘[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.’

“The stakes of the coming nomination fight are extraordinary. The future of reproductive rights is on the line. It’s up to the Senate to ensure that Anthony Kennedy be replaced with a justice who will affirm the fundamental rights of all.”