Justice Anthony Kennedy: Not Just Losing A Judge, We’re Losing The Balance of American Justice
In October, 2017, President Donald Trump bragged to his hyper-religious base that he would eventually be appointing four Supreme Court Justices.
In a highly controversial move that saw congress depart from tradition and reject President Barack Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland, Trump hopefuls occupying Senate seats voted to withhold the appointment of a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed in February 2016 until after the 2016 election.
Of course, Trump won, Merrick Garland was rejected by Trump who instead appointed conservative Republican Neil Gorsuch.
But, perhaps most shocking was Trump’s statements in the aftermath of that controversy as he enthusiastically declared that he would ultimately be replacing four Supreme Court Justices during his term, predicting the retirements of two women Democrat Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor, citing their health and age, he said to Axios;
Asked how he comes to that jaw-dropping number, Trump mentions the obvious: he’s already replaced Antonin Scalia with Neil Gorsuch, and there are rumors Anthony Kennedy will retire.
“Ok,” one source told Trump, “so that’s two. Who are the others?”
“Ginsburg,” Trump replied. “What does she weigh? 60 pounds?”
“Who’s the fourth?” the source asked.
“Sotomayor,” Trump said, referring to the relatively recently-appointed Obama justice, whose name is rarely, if ever, mentioned in speculation about the next justice to be replaced. “Her health,” Trump explained. “No good. Diabetes.”
Today, as speculated, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Kennedy was a moderate conservative who, despite his personal political leanings, voted in favor of marriage equality, affirmative action, rejected Trump’s proposed Trans Military Ban and to uphold Roe v. Wade that guarantees a Woman’s right to choose. Justice Kennedy was often the deciding vote in a divided Supreme Court, specifically on polarizing issues. He was the perfect example of what, today, is a dying breed of politician; A public servant who prioritizes people over party.
The departure of Justice Kennedy is a triumph for Trump, who had promised his radically religious base at the Value Voter’s Summit that he would rebuild the Supreme Court to serve God, not Government.
Trump fans are giddy today and Republicans are celebrating. Kennedy’s retirement paves the way to reverse the progress made by the previous administration that could result in the reversal of marriage equality, reinstate the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, overturn Roe v. Wade and expand Trump’s Muslim travel. Most cases brought before the Supreme Court in the last two years have resulted in a 5–4 vote- with Kennedy being the deciding factor. His lack of partisan rule left many of his fellow republicans and evangelical conservatives dubbing him a traitor.
Trump has sworn to replace Kennedy with another immovable conservative that will effectively put those currently sitting Justices who rule without religious bias or inherent prejudice in the minority. This means, of course, that there will no longer be a Supreme Court to intervene or altogether obstruct the wrecking ball that is the Trump administration to American liberty. He has succeeded in populating the Nation’s highest court with judges that will only find him agreeable, vote in his favor and uphold his iron-fisted dictator-like intentions- even if impulsively made on twitter in the middle of the night.
Mitch McConnell, the house Majority leader who was primarily responsible for blocking the confirmation of Obama’s 2016 appointee Merrick Garland claiming that since it was an election year, “All Americans deserved a voice” has backpeddled on that stance he took just two years ago. Now, McConnell wants the administration fast-track the confirmation of a Trump appointed Judge before Mid-term elections. Why? Our only hope in diverting this further massacre of democracy is to prevent congress from confirming Trump’s new Supreme Court Judge until after those pivotal elections.
First, however, that means democrats and independents must make their way to the polls in November with the same outrage that saw a record Republican turnout in the last Presidential election that flipped once primarily blue states, red. In order to protect their civil liberties and themselves from religious persecution, every person of color, every woman, every non-christian, every LGBT American should be waiting at the doors of their polling station with the same rebellion that Trump voters did in 2016.
This is a matter of ultimate importance that will far outlive Donald Trump, and require generations to come to suffer the consequences of a religiously motivated Supreme Court- they have no term limits. Justice Kennedy is retiring after having served 30 years in his capacity.
What kind of America do you want to see for the next 30 years?