Washington DC can very much be compared to a beehive where the honey is rumors. Trump colluding with the Russians, Trump obstructing justice, Hilary Clinton deleted Yoga emails with an expensive bleach program (DC is like 95% Democrat so you can rest assured that the rumors tilt against the right) are all examples.
The latest gossip among the gaggle of media hens, however, would be a rumor that liberals would not find amusing to discuss at brunch: Trump getting another nominee on the Supreme Court. The latest rumor, that Justice Anthony Kennedy may be retiring, is setting the stage for another SCOTUS showdown in the Senate to fill a void in the highest Court of the land. What makes this one different is Trump replaced a Conservative with a Conservative but this time he’d be replacing a Moderate.
First off, I’d like to explain the new paradigm of the Supreme Court. It is no longer the neutral referee for the Congress to make laws and Presidents to take actions, but rather they are now a “legislate from the bench” mechanism to push through things that did not have majority support enough to get passed by actual legislative processes so they simple did it by a court ruling. One notable example would be Boumediene v. Bush, which gave foreign terrorists American rights. Of course, that one was decided by Kennedy himself.
No sane American likes this new system of unelected officials being given legislative power. Not only that, but in recent history it has become customary to choose partisan judges (just look at Kagan and Sotomayor) who will ALWAYS vote for the progressive party. The same could be said of Thomas and Alito for the conservative party. Therefore, having an opportunity to put someone on the bench to help push your agenda through this mechanism becomes an important moment. But it should be noted it perpetuates the pollution of this important, and importantly neutral, institution of the American government.
With that in mind, let’s look at Kennedy.
Kennedy’s retirement would open the Swing Seat itself. Right now, one could argue there is an even 4-4 progressive/conservative ratio with Kennedy as the swing Moderate. That’s a little cut and dry especially considering Justice Roberts and the Obamacare ruling, but that’s how the paradigm is viewed.
Therefore, Trump would have an opportunity to shift the court to the right. He could replace Kennedy with a reliable conservative justice and help maintain conservative principles in the courts for years to come. In addition to the Kennedy rumor, you have the Ginsburg factor. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84 years old and the oldest member of the court. She also appears to be in poor health, though she works out on a daily basis so always be weary of optics.
Should both Kennedy and Ginsburg retire (or otherwise leave the court) under a Trump presidency, he could establish a solid 6-3 Conservative/Progressive paradigm, which is what is sending Liberals’ heads to supernova mode.
Who would Trump replace these two with if the opportunity were to present itself? Look no further than his list of judges he put out during the election. It is likely one of the finalists, like Thomas Hardiman-PA or William Pryor-AL, would be nominated by Trump, but this is speculation as well.
Well the morning has come and gone and the Trump Administration just won a small victory to allow his Travel ban to go into effect before arguments to be heard in October, and Justice Kennedy’s announcement to be has come and gone silently. He has made no announcement as of yet of retiring.
The story is obviously still developing as both Kennedy and Ginsburg are in their 80’s so don’t expect this to be the last mention of them.
The busy bees of Washington will continue to put out their rumors and scoops in hopes of shaping policy or opinion (or just to sell a headline). The rest of us will continue to view every story out of Washington with a grain of salt.
That’s the way of 21st Century media.