Rumors are swirling that 80-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy is set to announce his retirement sometime soon.
While Kennedy himself has yet to comment, Trump and the Republican senator in charge of high court confirmation hearings are weighing in on the prospect that Kennedy could step down as soon as this spring or summer.
If not this year, several former law clerks said they would not be surprised to see the justice retire in 2018.
"I've heard the same rumors that a lot of people have heard. And I have a lot of respect for that gentleman, a lot," Trump told The Washington Times in an interview published Sunday.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters last month, "I would expect a resignation this summer." He did not name any names but cited a "rumored" retirement.
Kennedy's departure would give Trump a second Supreme Court vacancy and the chance to cement conservative control of the court for a decade or more. Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first nominee, joined the court last month.