Justice Anthony Kennedy, conservative Supreme Court Justice, has been reviled by strict constructionists and ultra conservatives for his votes on what many of them considered key issues like abortion and gay rights. At the same time he has, for the most part, voted with the conservative Justices on the court.
His announcement to retire in advance of the mid-term elections is seen as no coincidence. Conservative members of Congress like Chuck Grassley have asked for any justices considering retirement to do it yesterday, fearing that any replacements on the court might be blocked should there be a change in the Senate at the mid term elections.
So, Justice Kennedy has announced his retirement. Is this a coincidence?
The New York Times reported that Anthony Kennedy's son, Justin, while involved with real estate investments at Deutche Bank was instrumental in securing a $1 Billion loan to Donald Trump for renovation of real estate in New York and Chicago at a time when other banks were unwilling to loan Trump money due to previous poor business practices.
It seems that President Trump has been setting this retirement up by first nominating Neil Gorsuch, a former Kennedy clerk, as Supreme Court Justice. The thought was that this would be a compliment to Kennedy, and the nomination of a justice most likely to follow in Kennedy’s footsteps. The tit for that tat was that Kennedy would retire and allow a true conservative who would vote along the views of the most conservative of social conservatives allowing for the reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Trump would do , then, all in his power to protect Kennedy’s legacy.
No one knows exactly what Special Council Robert Mueller knows, where the investigation into possible ties between the Trump Campaign and Russia's interference in the 2016 elections, and whether Justin Kennedy is in any way a suspect in the investigation. If he is, and there are ties to Justice Kennedy nothing can protect his reputation. That's sad, in a way, because Kennedy did seem to vote based on his interpretation of the constitution rather than his conservative ideology.
For those who see Trump as impetuous and incapable of long-term strategy this longer term strategy seems out of character. Perhaps it is and it is the strategy of his henchmen. Perhaps Trump is capable of more that he has been given credit for.
Whatever the case, Trump has announced that he will name a nominee on July 9, 2018. He has a couple of women on his list. No doubt they will be no Ruth Bader Ginsberg.