Kennedy announces his retirement, opening the door for yet another Trump Supreme Court Justice

My daughter just happened to be at the Supreme Court this afternoon, with a group of about 60 girls from Detroit and Ypsilanti, when word came out that Justice Anthony Kennedy, after serving 30 years on the high court, would be retiring, giving Donald Trump yet one more opportunity to remake the Judicial branch in his image, and thereby throwing into question, among other things, whether or not American women will continue to have control over their own reproductive health. I don’t know, at the age of 13, that she completely appreciated the magnitude of the situation, or what it might mean to her, or her friends, all of whom are headed into high school next year, but the site of her standing there, smiling on the steps of the high court, knowing what is likely on the horizon, made me incredibly sad.

And I wasn’t just sad because of what this might mean for my daughter’s future. I was sad because I knew that I’d let her down by not fighting hard enough when, back during the previous administration, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans, arguing that Obama shouldn’t be able to nominate a Supreme Court Justice in an election year, blocked the confirmation of Merrick Garland. At the time, McConnell said, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” and, perhaps thinking that Clinton would likely beat Trump, we allowed him to get away with it. We allowed the Republicans to block the nomination hearing of Merrick Garland for 269 days, until Trump took office, at which point they installed the far-right Neil Gorsuch, who has already begun making his presence known, casting deciding votes in a number of 5-4 decisions against unions, women and people of color. And, now, unless the Democrats can mount an effective opposition, it’s just going to get worse.

In saner times, we might be able to effectively argue, “Remember how you said that a President couldn’t nominate a Justice during an election year…”, but I don’t think that’s going to work here. Republicans don’t care about the perception of hypocrisy. They care about winning. And no matter how many times we remind McConnell that he blocked the Garland nomination for 269 days, arguing that it was too close to an election, and how it’s now only 132 days until the next election, it’s not going to matter. Simply put, they don’t give a fuck.

Here, for those of you who can’t remember, is one of McConnell’s tweets justifying the blocking of Garland.

When conservative Chief Justice John Roberts was confirmed by the Senate in September, 2005, he said the following. “I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent,” he said. “Precedent plays an important role in promoting stability and evenhandedness.” And that is exactly what’s happening here. They set a precedent that Justices cannot be confirmed during an election year, and now they’re going to act as though that had never happened, further whittling away at the democratic underpinnings of our once great nation.

So now we wait… wondering whether or not Trump will do the unthinkable and nominate the likes of Fox News propagandist Jeanine Pirro, as the Koch brothers announce that they’re ready to invest over $1 million in a campaign to confirm Trump’s candidate, assuming he or she is as pro-business and anti-worker as Gorsuch. [Speaking of Pirro, Donald Trump Jr. just said that he thought she’d be “pretty awesome” in the job.] And we cross our fingers and hope that, when the time comes, Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski once again find their backbones and stand up to Donald Trump on behalf of women everywhere, keeping him from getting the 51 Senate votes he needs for confirmation. I know it’s unlikely, but, really, as we have a minority in the Senate, and he only needs 51 votes, it’s the only hope that we have.

One last thing… To all of you who voted for Jill Stein in 2016, or refused to vote at all, as you just couldn’t bring yourselves to do the unthinkable and vote for Hillary Clinton, as you felt that she and Donald Trump were effectively the same, this is exactly the scenario that we, your thinking friends, warned you about. But you voted your consciences. And, now, as a result, we’re looking at the very real possibility of a Roe v. Wade repeal. Good work, progressive purists. You wanted to shake things up, and now you’ve gotten what you wished for… You’ve got real, significant change… A Muslim ban. Infant detention centers. The rollback of preexisting condition protections. The end of legal abortion… I know it’ll make you sad to hear this, but this is your doing as much as it is the Trumpists among us. The good news, however, is that you can still redeem yourselves. You are still alive, and you have agency. You can, right this very minute, sign up to help Democratic candidates, you can donate money, and you can register people to vote. You can get involved, and bust your asses to get back on the right side of history. While it’s not going to deter what’s being done to the Judicial branch right now, with your help, we can retake the Congress in November and start to… dare I say it… make America great again. Or at least somewhat less terrifying.

Oh, and here’s one last thing to note. I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything, but it’s being reported that Justice Kennedy’s son was one of Trump’s “most trusted” private bankers a Deutsche Bank for a period of 12 years… years in which, coincidentally, that bank was involved in Russian money laundering.

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32 Comments

  1. Kit
    Posted June 27, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t Jill Stein say that Hillary would be worse than Trump?

  2. Anonymous
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The Republicans are despicable. They will stop at nothing to get what they want, all while claiming to be the victims in this narrative. Kids are being ripped from families, and we’re talking about the cruelty visited upon Sarah Sanders while eating a cheese plate.

  3. Adam Schiff by proxy
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    McConnell held a Supreme Court seat open for a year, insisting no Justice be confirmed in an election year without voters having a say. This was a terrible precedent but one he will need to live with. Dem Senators must insist — absolutely no confirmation until after the midterm.

  4. Iron Lung
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    “Didn’t Jill Stein say that Hillary would be worse than Trump?”

    Yes, she did. What a complete moron Jill Stein is.

  5. iRobert
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Lots of Democrats think the pendulum will do all the work. They think that mid-terms always go against the party of the president and they are certain the backlash caused by Trump will create an inevitable “blue wave.” Knowing that, they’re sure all they have to do is sit and wait for power to come to them.

    The Democratic Party is ovverun with incompetent, inexperienced, delusional, flakes. They’re the ones devising strategies.

    The potential gains for the Democratic Party are great, across the board and at every level. However, the Party is in terrible shape and that will do much to minimize those gains.

    It would be very difficult to convince anyone within the Democratic Party, or among any of the others challenging from “the left,” that they are approaching things in a manner that will dramatically weaken their prospects, and that their campaigns are riddled with vaulnerabilities.

  6. John Brown
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Close to home you can work for or donate to Gretchen Driskell in MI-7, Elissa Slotkin in MI-8, and Tim Greimel in MI-11. These are flippable. https://swingleft.org/

  7. iRobert
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what can be done to improve the culture of the Democratic Party and the larger “left.” However, individual campaigns can do a lot to distinguish themselves and sure-up their strategies and organization so as to stand out from the flaky crowd around them.

  8. iRobert
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry. The term is “shore-up” not “sure-up” as I previously said.

  9. Sad
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    You’re probably right iRobert. Most of the Dems are running on the Trumps a bad guy platform. Sad.

    However that young woman who won the primary in New York is a plus. I know she’s probably too progressive , female, Brown, and young for many dems here, but for some of us she’s a glimmer of hope.

    The Democratic Party will have to be like a drunk and hit bottom before it can change. Also there’s the problem of the enablers who keep telling everyone to relax and trust the dems and their policy work towards incremental change. There’s certainly been nothing incremental about Trumpsim. The good thing about that it the Dems might hit bottom quicker rather than later.

    I hope I spelt everything wright.

  10. John Brown
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I suggest we don’t fret about the national party. There are some great local candidates who would make great representatives of their constituents who need direct support. This is how the national party changes from the bottom up, by voting in the best candidates for each individual race. Sometimes that’s going to be a super Progressive, and sometimes its going to be a Centrist that shoots an AR15 in their TV ads – and that’s OK. Believe me, some gun nuts are on our side and that’s a good thing! Each district is unique and each candidate is unique. Pick the best of the available candidates and actively support them.

  11. Iron Lung
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Local elections are where you can make a real difference.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    ‘I know she’s probably too progressive , female, Brown, and young for many dems here,’
    That’s a complete absurdity coming from the guy who plays down the problem of Trumps separation of families (or any other issue involving race or gender) and seems to think we’re all motivated by political one upsmamship and hyperbole rather than legitimate resistance.

    How can you possibly square your relentless minimization of issues of racism and sexism with that statement, SAD?

    Had you said Ocasio Ortez is too radical (she’s not) that might have made more sense.
    I welcome her voice in the ranks of perspectives . Her win in NY however is not representative of the possibilities for Dem Socialists in the rest of the country.

    We all want to move the country leftward. The question is whether that Best happens quickly or incrementally. I have never seen lasting change that happens quickly. I’m not sure I want to experience whatever impetus creates that kind of change. Except around climate action. That must happen. And I think it will. Maybe not too late.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Everybody in Whitmore Lake is talking about Harley Davidson not the SCOTUS opening, FYI.
    There is an ongoing and active debate about trade tariffs here between die hard Trump supporters, Trump voters who question him, and HRC voters who think they were fooled. All neighbors. There’s a degree of complexity and engagement I don’t think most A2 Ypsi people would imagine. They have been fooled about some stuff, in the same way Dems get fooled. They believe the party line.

    It’s a less pretty conversation around family separation. Not outright racist, but they have bought the fox narrative even while they are horrified ‘that it has come to this’ and want Trump ‘to fix it.’ They fear brown immigrants and they get that bias from the media they consume and a complete lack of real life exposure.

    It would be good if the media focused still more on the immigrant stories including the conditions these people are fleeing. Especially that. Even though most Trumpers listen to FOX, they also consume local news and go to church and have neighbors who share other information with them.

    It’s fascinating to go back and forth daily between the two different Community conversations. It’s kind of heartening in its way. At least the conversations are happening.

    Now I’m out the door to Detroit. I wonder what they’ll be discussing there.

  14. iRobert
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Sad, I blame all your misspellings on autocorrect, as I do with my own.

    I agree with most of what you say. There are always glimmers of hope out there, and those are the examples of which the rest should take note. My comments were more a criticism of the culture of the Democratic Party at the national level and the state level here in Michigan. It’s been infested with flaky incompetents just there for the employment and in an attempt to validate their delusional self-images.

    Positions have been handed out as favors and to provide friends with jobs, rather than to individuals who would serve to maximize the effectiveness of the organization.

    There are good options for everybody who wants to make a contribution. However, you may have to look around a little more than you would hope.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Whitmore Lake could really use a decent South or Central American restaurant…

  16. Emily Gould by proxy
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    “Amnesty International reports that suicide now accounts for 57 percent of deaths of pregnant females ages 10-19 in El Salvador.” That’s what a “culture of life” looks like.

  17. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    What are the roots of MS-13? What is the School Of The Americas?

  18. Iron Lung
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Phuuuuuuuck so haiiiii can’t even read mediaconspiracyCIAcontrol is the dog ok? phuuuuuuuckkkkkkk

  19. Iron Lung
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Marijuana is what fuels MS-13. Get rid of marijuana, get rid of MS-13!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4975096/MS-13-gang-members-sold-drugs-committed-murders.html

    “Eight ‘MS-13 gang members sold cocaine and marijuana, murdered a rival gang leader, and extorted illegal businesses to get cash which was sent to El-Salvador'”

  20. Iron Lung
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    The solution is simple.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I spent a lot of last night managing my fear by reading about this issue. Couple of takeaways.
    1) There is no possibility that Dems can block the nomination from going through before the midterms. They only need 50 votes now and they have them. They may have a few Dems too. (Those people need to go) Critics of the Democratic party will spin this as a failure, but there is little chance of any other outcome. It’s possible but it would require pro-choice GOP senators to fall on their swords. I just dont see that happening, much as I would be thrilled if they did.I’m ok if the Dem party is disrupted. I relish that. I just hate that it is so often done on political grounds as corrupted as the party line. I hate party politics.

    2) Whoever is nominated will be conservative but the list is out there. These aren’t terrible justices for the most part. There’s no Clarence Thomas in there. The person chosen will not be the centrist vote. Chief Justice Roberts becomes the deciding vote. I have some hope, based on his ACA vote, that he will be more independent than the rest. It’s not a complete GOP partisan takeover… yet.

    3)If Roe v Wade is overturned, that will take the decision to the states. It won’t outlaw abortion everywhere. In a time in which the federal government is overtaken by a madman, the considerable power of states rights, interestingly. becomes a way to fight back. City governance becomes a way to fight back. In general, the left and Dems have ignored how significant state power is to impact change. This is how we let our State representation be stolen out from under our noses in MI while paying attention to national politics. Everyone who cares about this should be pushing hard for passage of the redistricting reform ballot initiative on the ballot. More than turning seats, although that’s important too. Dems MUST turn out the vote. Which leads to…

    4)This nomination will almost certainly go through before midterms. That could be a disaster for Dems or provide a burst of energy to GOTV, depends how we play it. We have to fight the inevitable malaise and internal Dem crossfire. We have to let people understand that state and local races matter as much as federal going forward. Instead of turning on one another or staying home due to emotional fatigue and fear, we have to start pushing that the only way to win is for Dems and pro-choice independents to get out an vote. It needs to be a moral imperative to vote.

    There is no resistance if we cant get those who are not politically engaged out to the polls. The congress keeps acting against the national political will. The only way to change tha, especially given the structural barriers to fair elections, is to get people out to vote. It’s everything right now.

    States rights is going to become a big deal on the left. At least I hope it does.

  22. IRobert
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I thought you were going to Detroit, Jean.

  23. Jean Henry
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    About to walk into my meeting now, iRobert. Cheers.

  24. iRobert
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Okay. I was worried you were going to be late.

  25. Lynne
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Yes, we have to get people out to vote. That is the crux of it. they also have to vote well. Elections have consequences. Always. Even the primaries.

    Sitting around sniping about how much you don’t like the Democratic party does nothing. Getting involved in the party can help. Otherwise, at least get out and vote.

  26. Iron Lung
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    “Sitting around sniping about how much you don’t like the Democratic party does nothing.”

    Worked to keep people at home whining and let Trump take Michigan.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Senator Collins to reporters: “First of all I view Roe v. Wade as being settled law. It’s clearly precedent. I always look for judges who respect precedent. “

  28. Iron Lung
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Remember when all those right wingers were screaming about “activist judges?”

    Methinks they will not be so disturbed by a SCOTUS made up completely of right wing demagogues.

  29. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Gowdy stepping down to work in Justice starting to make sense now? Maybe he will get the seat soon to be available after this one when RBG retires.

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    Ugh.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/us/politics/trump-anthony-kennedy-retirement.html

  31. Anonymous
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Kennedy’s son was also the CEO of LNR Property when that company bailed out Jarred Kusner’s 666 Building. The more you read the more sketchy it all sounds.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted June 29, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The New Republic is now digging into the Trump-Kennedy connection.

    https://newrepublic.com/minutes/149496/trumps-relationship-justice-kennedy-sounds-shady-new-report

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