By Oliver Gettell
July 07, 2017 at 06:32 PM EDT
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Matt McClaint/Getty Images

Comedy legend Carl Reiner thinks Anthony Kennedy’s most vital work on the Supreme Court could still be ahead of him.

Amid rumors that Justice Kennedy, who turns 81 later this month, is mulling retirement, 95-year-old Reiner has urged him not to hang up his robe just yet via an open letter published in the New York Times.

“As someone who has almost a decade and a half on you, I can tell you this: It may well be that the best part of your career has just begun,” Reiner writes. “As a nonagenarian who has just completed the most prolific, productive five years of my life, I feel it incumbent upon me to urge a hearty octogenarian such as yourself not to put your feet up on the ottoman just yet. You have important and fulfilling work ahead of you.”

Reiner recalls that when he was about Kennedy’s age, he had finished filming Ocean’s Eleven, was preparing to shoot Ocean’s Twelve, and was working on a book that would lead to a national tour.

“I know what it means to be your age,” he continues. “I know the problems that come with the journey. But these are not ordinary times, and you, sir, are anything but an ordinary man.”

Kennedy has been the crucial swing vote on the nation’s highest court for more than a decade, and his potential replacement under President Trump could tilt the balance in a more conservative direction for years to come.

“The country needs justices like you who decide each case with fairness and humanity, and whose allegiance is to the Constitution of the United States of America, not to a party line,” Reiner writes. “You have always voted your conscience, and defended the rights and liberties of all our citizens.”