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And Then There Will Be 2 ... Or Will There?

Clarence Thomas
A newspaper report over the weekend said Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was considering retirement after the 2016 election. (Reuters photo)

According to a new report, the next president—whether it's Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton—will be guaranteed to replace two Supreme Court justices.

Sunday, the Washington Examiner reported Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is planning to retire from the high court after the November election, adding a second seat in addition to the late Antonin Scalia's that is already open. But his wife, Ginni, says the report is "bogus."

Thomas, often referred to as the high court's "quiet conservative" due to his general silence when hearing cases, was appointed by President George H.W. Bush after a vitriolic Senate confirmation process. The Examiner quoted several unnamed "court observers" who said he has been "considering retirement for a while."

Regardless of who wins the presidency in November, Thomas' retirement would have a substantial impact on control of the Supreme Court.

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Should Donald Trump become president, the slim 5-4 majority would remain in place, pending additional retirements. But if Hillary Clinton wins, she could "flip the court" to a 6-3 liberal majority that would last at least a generation.

Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy, who is 79 years old, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 83, are also widely expected to be replaced during the next four years. As a result, Republicans could have a 7-2 majority on the court with a Trump victory in November.

The Republican nominee-in-waiting has already provided a list of potential Supreme Court nominees that have been widely celebrated by conservatives and Christians alike.

But not so fast, Ginni Thomas said after the Examiner's report was published. Her husband may not be interested in dying on the court, but he's not going anywhere anytime soon, she said.

"For all those who are contacting me about the possibility of my husband retiring, I say unsubscribe from those false news sources and carry on with your busy lives," she said. "IT. IS. BOGUS! [Examiner 'Washington Secrets' columnist] Paul Bedard needs to find a phone in his life and unnamed sources are worth as much as their transparency is.

"A funny close friend wrote me: 'Next we'll hear that you and he have bought a small private island near Nevis, with a large satellite dish so that all the Nebraska college sports games won't be missed, and a large Green Egg that can slow cook the indigenous wild boar. Let us know when you are shipping off so we can all chip in to buy a suitable retirement present for your husband—perhaps matching lounge chairs and umbrellas.'"

The report, whether accurate or not, underscores the importance the 2016 presidential election will have, not just on the four years that follow, but on the future of the nation for more than a generation to come.

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