GOP senator says supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy will retire

A Republican U.S. senator says that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote who has decided many pivotal cases on the Supreme Court, will retire this summer.

An audio recording of Nevada senator Dean Heller speaking at a recent event in Las Vegas, obtained by Politico, captured his comments that the departure of the justice would be a boost for the senator’s own re-election campaign this fall.

Justice Kennedy was appointed by President Ronald Reagan after the failed nomination of Robert Bork. Kennedy’s judicial philosophy has placed him in the middle of the court on many important issues and given him an incredibly powerful position in the political life of the country. He has written historic decisions, such as the one that allowed gay marriage nationwide, and has not commented publicly about the report on his retirement.

At 81, he is the second oldest of the Supreme Court justices, Justices serve for life. Only justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is older.