In retiring while Trump is president and a special counsel investigates whether or not Trump and those close to him colluded with a hostile foreign power to interfere with, and undermine the election and either sow chaos or sow chaos and install a candidate of their choosing, Justice Kennedy has written his name in the book of infamy.
Several possibilities present themselves. First, as a lawyer and a judge, let alone as a man sitting at the pinnacle of political power, it could not have escaped his notice that Trump is insane, and a moron engaging in a host of actions that are all clearly the tactics of either a demagogue or a fascist, with designs on the establishment of a dictatorship centered on a cult of personality.
Secondly, if it did escape his notice then surely Kennedy is non compos mentis which is a polite way of saying he’s insane and or, an idiot. If he is insane or a catastrophic idiot, it is not only an indictment of him, but of the court, and the rest of the government who once again failed to do their duty and allowed an incompetent man to hold power.
We believe he acted with intent and foreknowledge. Despite all the hagiography that holds him to be conservative but honorable, the truth is he has written his political obituary as a reactionary content to hand the fate of the nation over to a psychopath, and his slithering gang who now have the chance to shape the court, and the nature of our country for decades if not permanently.
But beyond those crimes in judgment (sic) there is the very real possibility Kennedy had either decided in advance that a sitting president cannot be indicted or forced to testify and can pardon himself, or he has clearly either not considered any of it, or has considered all of it, and decided that given Trump’s penchant for demanding loyalty, it means that his pick to replace Kennedy can be as compromised as Trump and the Quisling’s want him to be.
That Cory Booker has reasoned that while under the eye of Mueller, Trump must wait to select a nominee, speaks to Booker’s common sense if not to his sense of desperation in the face of a potential national catastrophe. It also speaks to the idea that if Trump refuses to wait, then the nominee must accept that he will have to recuse himself should Trump’s status come before the court. But Booker is not the one guilty of either a lack of judgement or a commitment to tyranny. Kennedy is and that tells us that the soon to be former justice is guilty of attempting to stage a coup, or he is such a cold blooded detached legal Vulcan that it becomes a distinction without a difference.
Apologists for Kennedy have asked and smugly answered their own question: Why would he retire now? They have concluded that it’s because he doesn’t want to see his decisions overturned “five minutes after he’s gone.”
Which if true paints Kennedy as a petulant brat having a temper tantrum as he drops a massive turd in the middle of the party, and heads for the nearest exist. Or, it is that and that he is either a detached bloodless aristocratic reactionary, or all of that and some sort of stealth fascist who believes America will be better off under a dictator.
Consider Ian Millhiser’s brief, blunt description in a piece he wrote for Thinkprogress:
“Anthony Kennedy was a horrible justice, and his last decision was his worst”
Millhiser has Kennedy as incompetent, with his legal language being so imprecise that its use as an opportunity by the right to overturn key decisions is inevitable. Marriage equality, and a host of other decisions that liberals believed Kennedy supported are vulnerable, per Millhiser, because Kennedy was a second rate jurist playing on the biggest legal stage possible.
We are less generous than that. Kennedy was a Reagan appointee. He passed the litmus test of the Reaganite reactionaries. He was the reactionary break in case of emergency choice when the Senate told Bork – we don’t forget and we don’t forgive. Bork was, after all, the man who said yes mein Fuhrer to Nixon, and willingly ordered the Special Prosecutor to shut the fuck up, which of course led to the Senate telling Nixon to get the fuck out of Dodge which in turn led to the Supreme Court telling Nixon to hand over the tapes. Or the sequence went the other way but it’s moot – the aristocrats did the job and threw the would-be dictator overboard.
Which brings us back to Kennedy.
If he believes that the institutions of the republic can survive this trainwreck it can only be because he is in effect an idiot savant, and some sort of very high functioning autistic soul incapable of connecting the dots between social cues.
Or, he does not believe the institutions should survive and that what we need is a fascist in The White House presiding over (or in conjunction with) a Quisling Senate, a rubber stamp court and a dead Justice Department. Which, leaves the House as either a weak political vassal or a rebellious but powerless political bit player.
Turning the Court into a whore would, if nothing else, give Trump an escape hatch. He doesn’t care about abortion or privacy – except his own – and he doesn’t care about the environment or education or anything except himself. His choice of a fascist goon for the court is not ideological but it is personal, and where the two intersect, Trump is happy to oblige the ideologues.
Which again brings us back to Kennedy.
Either he knew and didn’t care, or he knew and liked it, or he’s so fucking incompetent that if you explained it to him he wouldn’t understand.
But again, given the stakes, what difference does it make? He has handed the court to a moronic thug, and a gang of decadent Roman aristocrats.
We are reminded of the hinge of fate when the doddering Paul von Hindenburg caught between his own reactionary aristocratic impulses to crush dissent, and his distaste for the street scum that comprised Hitler’s strength, dithered. He tried to play the Nazis off by selecting different combinations of reactionary aristocrats and businessmen to form a coalition and then settled on bringing Hitler and the Nazis into the government to do the one thing they all wanted – stop the Left from gaining power. Believing that Hitler could be contained and controlled; used and then disposed of, they of course engineered their own death and helped pull the rest of the world into the abyss with them.
Anthony Kennedy is a lone political gunman.
He has just shouted sic semper tyrannis and run from the theater.
He has offered Trump the weak remains of the republic on a platter.
Here, he said, no one was using it anyhow; do whatever you want with it.
Yes, we are comparing him to murderers and fascists.
He is a shameful failure as a human being and as a judge and as a citizen.
And now, the war moves to a moment of decision. Does the tyrant prevail or will he be brought down.
See Millhiser’s article here: