The dire consequences if Justice Kennedy retiresThere’s an immensely sobering but important posy this morning on ThinkProgress by Supreme Court watcher Ian Millhiser entitled “The dire consequences if Justice Kennedy retires.” As Millhiser points out, Americans will likely have to “say goodbye to Roe, racial justice, voting rights, and any new progress on LGBT rights.” Here’s the alarming into:
This past weekend, as most Americans were preparing for cookouts and fireworks, NPR’s Nina Totenberg dropped a bombshell. Justice Anthony Kennedy, the closest thing the Supreme Court has to a swing vote, has told young lawyers seeking clerkships in his chambers that “he is considering retirement.”
If Kennedy does retire, that decision presents an existential threat to many civil rights that seemed safely entrenched before Donald Trump’s second-place victory in last November’s election.
Four years from now, Trump may be remembered as both a political accident and the man who inspired a broad coalition of voters to cast his unique brand of racist incompetence out of office. He owes his job to a constitutional relic that allows the loser of a presidential election to nonetheless take office, and Trump has thus far struggled to advance a legislative agenda through Congress.
And yet, if Kennedy does retire, Trump will be an extraordinarily consequential president.
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