Washington, Jun 27 (PTI) Justice Anthony Kennedy today announced his retirement from the US Supreme Court, setting the stage for a vicious confirmation battle in a highly politicised atmosphere. Also Read - Beware of KYC Fraud: SBI Alerts Customers, Know How to Protect Yourself From Online Fraud

Kennedy, 81, met President Donald Trump at the White House this afternoon soon after he told his colleagues in the Supreme Court that July 31 would be his last day at the apex court. Also Read - Jersey Release Date Out: Shahid Kapoor's Sports Drama To Have Theatrical Release This Diwali

“It has been the greatest honour and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those on the Supreme Court,” Kennedy said in a statement. Also Read - Brisbane Weather Forecast For 4th Test Day 4: Will Rain Play Spoilsport During India-Australia at Gabba, Starting Time

Talking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump said Kennedy has “been a great justice of the Supreme Court.” “The process to find a replacement will begin immediately,” he added, and hoped that he will pick someone who is just “as outstanding”.

In a statement, the White House thanked Justice Kennedy for his 30 years of distinguished service on the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1987, President Reagan nominated him to the court, and he was swiftly confirmed without opposition.

“A Californian like the President who appointed him Justice Kennedy is a true man of letters. During his tenure on the Court, he authored landmark opinions in every significant area of constitutional law, most notably on equal protection under the law, the separation of powers, and the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech and religion,” the White House said.

“Justice Kennedy has been a tireless voice for individual rights and the Founders’ enduring vision of limited government. His words have left an indelible mark not only on this generation, but on the fabric of American history,” it said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.