The stakes in the 2016 presidential race, already sky high, are rising even higher amid a report that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is planning to retire from the high court next year. Thomas, who has been a consistent conservative vote since he was appointed by the first President Bush, turns 80 next year.
The Washington Examiner started a social media buzz Sunday by reporting that Thomas, who has been a consistent conservative vote since he was appointed by the first President Bush, "is mulling retirement after the presidential election."
The report is based on unidentified "court watchers," who also told the newspaper that Thomas, whois 67, "has been considering retirement for a while and never planned to stay until he died."
The next president -- likely to be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump -- already have a Supreme Court vacany to fill. Senate Republican leaders have refused to consider a confirmation vote for President Obama's nominee to fill the seat vacated with the January death of Antonin Scalia.
Twitter reaction has been fast and furious.
When u read Clarence Thomas is considering retirement pic.twitter.com/n8P71ktWQH-- ㅤkasie (@3UGAHokies19) June 19, 2016
Clarence Thomas might retire? pic.twitter.com/OKS15VBCyO-- Calvin (@aurosan) June 19, 2016
Clarence Thomas might retire? Aside from the fact he acts retired already... pic.twitter.com/LRCJiIBDbk-- also darbles (@BarbBjp5419) June 19, 2016
I believe this Clarence Thomas retiring rumor is meant to get conservatives on board with Trump-- JohnAmato (@JohnAmato) June 19, 2016
When I saw Clarence Thomas trending I figured he died. But retiring is good, too...-- Twilight Zone (@DaTwilightZone) June 19, 2016
If Clarence Thomas retires, we'll have to make do with only seven justices until the next GOP president, as mandated by the Constitution.-- Bearded Stoner (@beardedstoner) June 19, 2016
Waiting to see from whom Clarence Thomas receives his first big check, after he retires from the bench. Mentally preparing self now.-- JohnnySoftware (@JohnnySoftware) June 19, 2016