The deciding factor for many reluctant conservatives to get behind Donald Trump was the Supreme Court vacancy left by the passing of the late, great Antonin Scalia. Trump gave a list of potential justices he would appoint, and despite hints that he would ignore the list and choose someone else, he did end up delivering with the nomination of Neil Gorsuch, who has received near-universal acclaim from the right.
But the current battle over Gorsuch may be just a skirmish before the all-out war that could come as soon as later this year.
Yesterday at CPAC, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said explicitly he believes there will be another Supreme Court vacancy by this summer.
There are three current Supreme Court justices over the age of 75: Stephen Breyer (78), Anthony Kennedy (80), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (83). Notice that they are all at least partially on the Court’s “left” wing — i.e. those who view the Constitution as merely a suggestion and are willing to impose their personal views on the nation from the bench, as the Court did in Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges.
Supreme Court justices like to pretend that they are non-political, impartial observers. That’s silly. In reality, they watch political developments very closely, and they won’t retire unless they have reason to believe that a judge like them will be appointed to take their spot. Notice how Justices David Souter and John Paul Stevens quickly retired one after the other almost immediately after Obama was elected. They were leftist justices who knew Obama could be relied upon to appoint leftists to replace them.
It is believed Justice Ginsburg is in declining health, but she is unlikely to retire in the near future for fear of being replaced by a constitutionalist. It seems most likely that Sen. Cruz was referring to Anthony Kennedy, which would be in line with what most Supreme Court watchers have been saying: that Justice Kennedy wants to retire. Although Kennedy generally falls on the “right” wing of the Court, he has been indistinguishable from legislate-from-the-bench leftists like Ginsburg on some of the most critical issues, like abortion and same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, many Court observers believe Kennedy is watching the Gorsuch nomination closely. If Gorsuch is successfully confirmed, it is quite possible Kennedy will take that as a cue that, if he were to retire, Trump could be trusted to appoint a worthy replacement.
If this turns out to be true, and there is another vacancy this summer (or at least before the end of Trump’s term), it could mean all out war between Democrats and the GOP.
The left holds a 5-4 vote majority on issues like abortion, gay marriage, and others, with Kennedy holding the swing fifth vote. If Kennedy retires and is replaced by a constitutionalist, it is plausible that judicial disasters like Roe v. Wade could be overturned within a couple years.
If you think the far left and the media are hysterical now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. If Kennedy or one of the liberal judges vacates the Court in the next four years, leftists will declare Armageddon, hold tearful press conferences daily, ramp up their media opposition, and stand by silently as the more radical among them literally riot in the streets. Decades of leftist judicial activism are hanging by a thread. They will not let go easily. Buckle up.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore