I missed some important points when I wrote yesterday about Justice Kennedy’s exit, stage right.
First, we’ve gotten so used to phony libertarians like Senator Aqua Buddha and the Koch brothers that we don’t recognize the real deal. Anthony Kennedy is opposed to excessive government regulation in ALL AREAS. On the plus side, he’s championed gay rights and opposed the overruling of Roe v. Wade. On the minus side, he applies his libertarianism to economic and free speech questions and we end up with the Kennedy who supported this term’s awful rulings and Citizens United. He’s simply being consistent in favoring as limited a role for government as possible unless there’s a national security rationale as in the Muslim ban case.
Second, the impact of Kennedy’s exit, stage right, on the fate of the Mueller investigation is worrisome. The Supremes are likely to vote on various aspects of the investigation, which means that Trump has yet another serious conflict of interest:
A president under active criminal investigation of whether he won legitimately and whether he has obstructed that very investigation should not be permitted by a mere Senate majority to designate the justice whose votes could prove pivotal to the fate of his presidency.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) June 28, 2018
We know that Chinless Mitch doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the niceties of the law. He believes in power, pure and simple. He clearly regards the McConnell Court as his most important legacy. Conservatives long ago honed in on the federal courts but whenever I urge people to vote based on Supreme Court nominations, I’m rewarded for my efforts with a glazed look.
As to the president* he’s a walking conflict of interest, so why would he care? He has important work to do: engaging in a cover-up in plain sight is difficult and a Gorsuch clone on the court would suit his purposes.
Finally, I wrote the first draft of this post before a remarkable piece appeared in the Failing New York Times about Team Trump’s successful effort to schmooze Justice Kennedy by shrewdly playing on the law clerk connection. The mere fact that they did something competent should send chills up and down our collective spines since Trump is an autocrat in search of an autocracy.
The money is passage is about Kennedy’s son, Justin, who has a longstanding business relationship with the Trumps:
But they had a connection, one Mr. Trump was quick to note in the moments after his first address to Congress in February 2017. As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr. Trump paused to chat with the justice.
“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”
Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.
One cannot expect Kennedy’s perorations about dignity and respect to trump crony capitalism. #sarcasm.
We’re really on our own now.