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Justice Kennedy, the pivotal swing vote on the Supreme Court, announces retirement

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Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring from the Supreme Court, a move that gives President Trump the chance to replace the court’s pivotal justice and dramatically shift the institution to the right, setting up a bitter partisan showdown on Kennedy’s successor.

“It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court,” Kennedy, who is stepping down July 31, said in a statement.

Kennedy, 81, joined the court in 1988 and has been its most important member for more than a decade. The Californian, who was chosen by President Ronald Reagan, has cast the deciding vote on the court’s controversial Citizens United campaign finance decision, the constitutional right to same-sex marriage and the continued viability of affirmative action.

On almost every major issue that has faced the court in recent years, neither the court’s liberal, Democratic-appointed justices nor Kennedy’s fellow ­Republican-appointed conservative colleagues could prevail without his swing vote.

His decision likely will make Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. the central justice on the nine-member court. Roberts, 63, has shown himself to be well to the right of Kennedy.

Washington could be in for an epic battle over Kennedy’s replacement. While Senate Democrats lack the numbers to deny the seat to whoever Trump chooses, they will ratchet up the stakes of the choice.

It will be the first time since Justice Clarence Thomas replaced Thurgood Marshall more than 25 years ago that a new justice could radically change the direction of the court. Since then, new members added to the court have replaced justices of the same general ideology.

Kennedy is a courtly presence on the court, with a gentlemanly demeanor and a jurisprudence based on the respect the Constitution provides for individual liberty and dignity.

He was a compromise choice for Reagan, who had first nominated the more controversial conservative Judge Robert Bork for the position. The Senate voted him down.

Kennedy has been a disappointment to the right, which has been unable to forgive his vote to uphold the basic underpinnings of Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s right to choose an abortion. And Kennedy has written each of the court’s major gay rights decision, including Obergefell v. Hodges, which said the Constitution requires that gay couples be allowed to marry.

Liberals came to value Kennedy because he was the best they could hope for. But Kennedy most often votes with the court’s conservatives: He is further to the right on law-and-order issues than Justice Antonin Scalia was, he is comfortable with the court’s protective view of business, and he shared the losing view that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

His belief that campaign finance regulation often violates free speech was exemplified in his authorship of the opinion in Citizens United, which has opened the door for an explosion of big money in elections.

Whoever Trump nominated to fill Kennedy’s seat will likely share those views, but not his liberal opinions on social issues.

Trump convinced evangelicals and other conservatives to support him based on the next president’s ability to shape the Supreme Court, a promise he has already begun to fulfill. Early in his term, he successfully place conservative Neil M. Gorsuch on the bench, and he could have the chance to fill more openings.

Of the court’s four liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 and Justice Stephen G. Breyer turns 80 this summer.

Gorsuch’s appointment returned the court to the status quo that existed before Scalia died. But a court without Kennedy would be a different place.

With Kennedy on board, a five-member majority struck down a Texas law that it said used protecting women as a pretext for making abortion unavailable, and the court continued a limited endorsement of affirmative action.

Many if not all of those holdings would be at risk in a court with five consistent conservatives, the oldest being 69-year-old Justice Clarence Thomas.

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Black Teenager Attacked by Corrections Deputy in Florida, Investigation Underway

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A Florida corrections deputy has been placed on leave after going on the attack against a 17-year-old at a juvenile center … and it’s all on video.

The teenager, Terrance Devon Reed III, was taken to the hospital after the violent altercation with Sarasota County Deputy Neil Pizzo last week. The surveillance footage shows Reed sitting on a bench with his arms tucked in his shirt when Pizzo marches toward him.

As Reed stands up and takes his arms out, the deputy immediately goes for his throat. A struggle ensues before Pizzo throws Reed to the ground, but at no point does the teenager appear to fight back.

Another deputy jumps in to try to wrangle Reed’s feet, and that’s when Pizzo strikes the teen on the back of the head multiple times. Reed’s then cuffed and helped to his feet … but not before suffering abrasions to his head.

The altercation reportedly began after Reed — who was previously arrested and charged with contempt of court, probation violations and cocaine possession — became uncooperative in a police lineup.

That, of course, doesn’t justify the violence by the deputy, and Sheriff Tom Knight says he’s disappointed in what he saw and Pizzo’s failure to de-escalate the situation.

Knight says he placed the deputy on administrative duty while an internal investigation is conducted.

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Tamar Braxton Boyfriend Files A Restraining Order Indicating Domestic

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Tamar Braxton boyfriend is running to court asking for protection against her in what he describes as a domestic violence situation.

The singer’s BF, David Adefeso, filed for a restraining order Tuesday in L.A. seeking to prevent Domestic Violence and he’s asking a judge to grant him one against Tamar. For now, it’s unclear what he’s alleging she might’ve done.

It doesn’t look like the court has approved his request just yet  

At any rate, it’s another sign that things have been volatile lately in her life — especially as it pertains to David. Remember, he’s the one who called 911 not too long ago saying Tamar was threatening to kill herself. He also mentioned her WeTV beef to cops at the time.

Also keep in mind … family sources connected to Tamar have told us they believe she’s changed since getting with him — claiming her mood seems to align with his. We’ve also been told that David has come off as controlling in Tamar’s reality show, and that he’s been quite involved in her business decisions of late.

This continues to be a developing story…..

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Bodies of US Couple Found at Bottom of Well in Mexico

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The bodies of a missing US couple have been found at the bottom of a well in Mexico.

Ian Hirschsohn, 78 and his 73-year-old wife Kathy Harvey had been missing since August 31, when they were supposed to return home to San Diego from a trip across the border.

Their abandoned car was found in Ensenada, just 90 minutes from the US border, last week.

Investigators then made the grim discovery on Thursday in an unpopulated area just south of the tourist hotspot.

The bodies were recovered over the weekend; San Diego police confirmed their identities, CBS8 reported.

Family members said the couple had been staying at a rented house in El Socorrito, about 200 miles south of the border, a town they frequented over the past 35 years.

Kathy texted her son Robert on August 28 to say they were going to either explore a gold mine or visit a beach; however the family lost contact with them on August 31.

After reporting them missing, the Consulate General in Tijuana finally informed the family the couple’s Toyota Land Cruiser had been found in Ensenada.

“She was really enjoying retirement and had multiple groups of friends,” Robert told the site. “She loved walking and traveling.  She had a huge bucket list of where she wanted to go.”

An investigation is now underway. The cause of deaths has not been revealed, nor has a motive, but investigators suspect foul play.

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