Updated on July 5 at 12 p.m. ET
Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, dropped a political bombshell on June 27, unexpectedly announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.
Kennedy’s retirement, which will take effect on July 31, has massive ramifications on the political landscape. Kennedy, considered to be the swing vote on the Supreme Court, is a Republican, but he switched sides often to vote with the Democrats, most notably in favor of abortion rights and same-sex marriage.
With Kennedy gone, President Trump gets a second Supreme Court pick. Trump is expected to nominate a staunch conservative in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, whom he tapped in 2017. Republicans will look to fill the seat before midterm elections in the fall.
According to reports, Trump will select from one of these 25 names. He will announce his pick on July 9.
Offshore sportsbooks across the market didn’t take long to post odds for Kennedy’s replacement.
At Bovada, Brett Kavanaugh opened as the favorite at +175. Kavanaugh is a former White House lawyer for George W. Bush who was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington in 2006.
Here’s a full rundown of odds, comparing Bovada’s opening lines (as of 5:50 p.m. ET on June 27) to their lines as of 12 p.m. ET on July 5:
As you can see, early sharp action came down on Amy Coney Barrett, a 46-year-old Notre Dame Law School alum and staunch pro-life advocate. Barrett was nominated by Trump to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and confirmed in 2017.
Since opening, her odds moved from +450 to +155. She is now the favorite.
Kavanaugh dipped from +175 to +275, but late sharp money has brought him back to +180, putting him a relative dead-heat with Barrett.
Right on their heels is Kethledge. Over the past week, he’s quietly surged from +1000 to +350, giving him the third-best odds.
Other notable movement: Larsen has improved from +1500 to +800, keeping her in striking distance. Thapar has dipped from +500 to +900. Hardiman has fallen like a rock from +350 to +1200.
At one point it looked like Mike Lee (+1500 to +900) was on the rise, but he’s since fallen back to +2000.
Pryor, Grant, Willett, Clement and Sykes have all ballooned to +5000, so you can likely cross them off the list.
Interesting to note: Trump said he wants to nominate someone to serve 40 to 45 years, which means he’s targeting a younger justice. And he’s also considering two women.
Current ages of the top five candidates: Barrett 46, Kavanaugh 53, Kethledge 51, Larsen 49, Thapar 49.
At the political betting side PredictIt, Kavanaugh is the clear favorite as of July 5th. Barrett has been falling. Kethledge is an interesting value play. He’s the second most traded candidate and currently sits at +350 at Bovada.
Is Kavanaugh the play? Are you still backing Barrett even though she’s falling at PredictIt? Is Kethledge the dark horse? Is Larsen an under-the-radar value pick? Are there any other candidates being overlooked?
You can find me on Twitter @Josh_Insights.