Liberals Fear Trump May Leave a Much Larger Impact on Supreme Court Than Originally Expected

(CNN) As lawyers prepare for a blockbuster Supreme Court term that will feature a constitutional scholar's dream docket of issues, some aren't even trying to hide their game. Lawyers are tailoring their arguments to the justice -- peppering court papers with references to his jurisprudence. If they could, they'd feature his picture on the front page of legal briefs.

That's because everything in some cases depends upon the Ronald Reagan-appointed justice, who some suspect is in his last year on the bench.

It's true especially for liberals facing more possible nominees from President Donald Trump who could help cement an ideological rightward shift that could last for decades.

And they hope Kennedy has that in mind.

"I think Justice Kennedy has got to feel very uncomfortable about the drastic shift to the right that would take place on the court if he steps down and lets Trump pick his replacement," said Michele Jawando, an attorney with the liberal Center for American Progress.

"Justice Kennedy is one of the last things standing between progressive values rooted in the Constitution and the wrecking ball that is this erratic administration," Jawando added. "Another Trump nominee would surely undo Kennedy's powerful legacy that includes protecting abortion rights and recognizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. "

While Kennedy has voted with conservatives on issues such as campaign finance, gun rights and voting rights, he's delivered victories for liberals on issues concerning LGBT rights, abortion restrictions and affirmative action. The court has five Republican-appointed and four Democrat-appointed justices.

"I personally have no doubt that if Justice Kennedy or Justice Ginsburg or Justice Breyer is replaced by President Trump, there will be five votes to overrule Roe v. Wade and Roe v. Wade will be overruled," constitutional scholar Erwin Chemerinsky said at an event hosted by Irvine School of Law last summer.