U.S. Supreme Court nominations bring out the partisanship in just about everyone in Washington, and Elena Kagan’s nomination is no different. Yet no matter how liberal Kagan might be, she — like Justice Sonia Sotomayor before her — is set to replace a liberal member of the court (Justice John Paul Stevens). Her fight is nothing like what would result if President Obama were picking the replacement for one of the court’s conservatives. Don’t hold your breath. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 74 and a 22-year court veteran, is telling family and friends he isn’t retiring until after Obama’s first term, at the earliest, according to the New York Daily News. The Reagan appointee apparently wants to stay on until the next conservative president takes office, which would maintain the court’s current 5-4 conservative/liberal makeup. The other conservatives on the court also figure to be around awhile. Chief Justice John Roberts (55), and Justices Samuel Alito (60) and Clarence Thomas (62) are spring chickens relative to high court precedent. Justice Antonin Scalia, like Kennedy, is 74 but shows no sign of slowing down or restlessness. Barring something unforeseen the court’s current ideological mix figures to be in place for some time yet.