The past few weeks have been chock-a-block with major developments. The Supreme Court, in particular, has been in the news quite a bit, including striking down compulsory dues payments for non-union members.
Now that the current session of SCOTUS is in recess, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the infamous “swing” justice, has announced his retirement, which is effective 1 July 2018.
This gives President Trump his second opportunity to appoint a justice to the highest court in the land. The Neil Gorsuch nomination was a slam-dunk, as recent Supreme Court rulings have demonstrated. Now Trump has the opportunity to appoint a true, consistent, constitutional conservative to the bench.
Justice Kennedy was nominated thirty years ago, after the railroading of Robert Bork. Bork, a hard-nosed conservative and constitutional originalist—indeed, Bork made originalism cool again—was slandered by the execrable Senator Edward “Teddy” Kennedy, the so-called “Lion of the Senate,” in his melodramatic “Robert Bork’s America” speech against Bork’s appointment.
The speech—a classic misunderstanding of constitutional originalism, and a classic example of fearmongering—argued that women would be forced to have back alley abortions, that black Americans would have to sit at segregated lunch counters, and that Americans would face “midnight raids” on their homes. Critics of originalists ignore that constitutional originalists recognize the amendment clause of the Constitution—they wouldn’t very “originalist” if they didn’t—and so falsely claim that anyone who supports a literal reading of the document supports slavery (or some such nonsense).
Regardless, President Trump’s potential nominee—who will be chosen from a list of twenty-five—will no-doubt face a proper Borking of his own. Here’s hoping the Republican-controlled Senate can avoid cucking out on this rare opportunity, and put someone who actually understands and believes in the Constitution on the bench.