Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy just dropped a bomb on Progressives with his announcement that he is considering retirement. Kennedy is the only hope for the left when it comes to liberal issues that require his swing vote. When either side needs a vote on a close issue, he is the man who stands in the middle and makes the decision that could go either way. Otherwise, with Donald Trump in the Oval Office, and if Kennedy stepped down, we can expect another nomination in the caliber of Neil Gorsuch. What is even worse, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84, four years older than Kennedy. But all the conservatives need is one more seat to wreak havoc.
- “Justice Kennedy is the most powerful jurist in the world. The longer he stays on the court the greater the chance he can shape the legal doctrine for years to come.”
Now that would seem to me the greatest incentive a jurist could have to serve and hopefully Anthony Kennedy feels the same way. It could also be that he is concerned over the possibility of another vacant seat as in the Scalia case and will stay just to prevent that. And with Neil Gorsuch on the far right of the current Supreme Court bench and voting 100 percent of the time with the court’s most conservative member, Clarence Thomas, Kennedy’s opinion is even more vital. What is interesting to me is that, while Gorsuch and Thomas voted to hear the challenge to a California gun law, the other seven justices voted to leave it with the lower court.
- “Kennedy is a conservative. But on a number of issues — such as abortion, race, LGBT rights, criminal justice, and gerrymandering — he was a relative moderate compared to his fellow Republicans on the Supreme Court. If Trump nominates someone to replace Kennedy who’s more similar to Neil Gorsuch, the hardline conservative Trump picked for the seat that Senate Republicans held open until Trump could fill it, the law will move drastically to the right on many crucial issues.”
Ginsburg didn’t retire…will Kennedy
And that is what should worry Progressives, serving as a call to arms for the 2018 election to take back the Senate to prevent this from happening. So, if Kennedy did retire, and Democrats were in control of the Senate, the Court’s eight justices would line up as follows…
- Conservatives: John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch
- Liberals: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan
The Court is now stacked even so the Dems would be able to thwart any moves Trump would make to nominate another far-right Justice like Gorsuch, or even worse. Here are three cases that most political pundits believe will come before the next Court with “plenty of thunderbolts…”
- Whether business owners can deny commercial services for a gay wedding.
- Whether police have to get a warrant to track cellphones.
- Whether there is a constitutional limit to the practice of partisan gerrymandering.
The Washington Post published the following headline which is a statement most Progressives would agree with: “The terrifying and terrible prospect of Justice Kennedy retiring.” Their comment…
- “Your [Justice Kennedy] career has been characterized by insistence on civility, respect for the dignity of all individuals and commitment to the rule of law — qualities absent in our president. Just read Trump’s tweets and ask yourself: Do I really want my successor named by this man?”
We can only hope that Anthony Kennedy’s answer will be NO!