Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Retires

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I go to Bankruptcy Court and news breaks out!  Anthony Kennedy, the key swing vote on the Supreme Court, is retiring effective at the end of July.  Trump gets another nomination to the Supreme Court and the Democrats go crazy.  This will be a major fight and put the Supreme Court front and center as an issue in the Senate races this Fall.  The Trump Court may be Trump’s longest lasting legacy.  More as I have time to breath after the law mines shut down today.

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  1. I’ve never seen Kennedy as the villain others do. Kennedy’s constitutional jurisprudence is not mine, but it is both honest and surprisingly predictable. First and foremost he reliably gives the Bill of Rights the broadest reading possible, which is why conservatives dislike him on social issues such as abortion and gay rights and liberals dislike him on the Second Amendment and campaign finance. But he will almost always uphold state legislation if it survives Bill of Rights scrutiny, whereas he is skeptical of federal powers vis-à-vis the states. In other words he consistently views federal powers as being quite limited and trumped first (and most importantly) by the Bill of Rights and second by state police and regulatory powers. My biggest problem with him is his excessively expansive understanding of the Bill of Rights, which is grounded neither in the text nor history – hence his social issue decisions. But critics who claim he is inconsistent and unpredictable are using the lens of politics or policy, not law or constitutional architecture.

  2. I confess Mike that Justice “sweet mystery of life” will draw no tears from me. Too often he seemed to confuse the office of Justice with that of Platonic Guardian. Having said that, he was no Souter, who voted lock step with the liberals on the Court, Kennedy being a true swing vote. There have been far worse Justices, his votes have been good ones by and large this session and he is retiring now when a Republican, of a sort, can appoint his successor. The country would have avoided a lot of grief however if Bork had been confirmed thirty years ago.

  3. Don, I am shedding no tears — just trying to set the record straight. I just never saw Kennedy as the swing vote others do. He was too predictable once you understood his constitutional reasoning, as opposed to evaluating his opinions through the lens of politics or policy. Kennedy’s implicit embrace of substantive due process (where he played the Platonic Guardian), especially in his privacy related decisions, is wrong-headed to be sure, but it is a function of his reliable devotion – excessive to be sure — to the Bill of Rights generally, which is probably better than being dismissive and forcing cramped interpretations. He views the constitution as embodying a skepticism toward government so pronounced that it accommodates vague unarticulated penumbral type liberties at the expense of what should be legitimate state police and regulatory powers. I disagree with his jurisprudence, but respect his nonpolitical consistency.

  4. To Ernest and Lucius…

    Heck yeah! Cry havoc baby!!
    Two great bits of news from SCOTUS in two days. What will tomorrow bring? Hillary in Jail?..(better not push it and be satisfied for today.)

  5. I can’t overlook Kennedy’s rulings on homosexual marriage and abortion. I just can’t. Those decisions were evil.

    Good riddance. Let the nominee be Ann Coney Barrett. She has several children. I want the Left to try to trash her.

  6. Ginsburg?
    Isn’t that a type of bunion?

    ken. I’m hearing you loud and clear.
    Her retirement party is coming up sooner than later. Time is not on her side.

  7. “This is good news, but I’d prefer if the president was picking Ginsburg’s replacement.”
    Ginsburg’s embrace of international law and Sharia law, like Hillary Clinton, for the United States, informed sexual consent for fourteen year old girls, the disenfranchisement of every male of his seed, the re-defining of the human person without his soul, marriage without the marital act, defines Ginsburg as a follower of Satan. It is Satan who keeps Ginsburg alive.

  8. Mary De Voe.


    If I recall correctly, the numbers of attendants has increased recently in the classes for priests to expell demons. Go figure. Without the relationship with God and His Church souls are easy pickings. Madam Ginsburg? Better Super-size it Padre.

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