There’s no easy way of saying this, America. So let’s just get it out of the way. Let’s rip off the band-aid.
We’re all screwed.
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement today.
“It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court,” Kennedy said in a statement.
Kennedy is a conservative, of course, but he is also a human being with a heart and a history of displaying actual tolerance. He was often the swing vote in Supreme Court cases that were divided along partisan lines. And the thing was, conservatives could never count on him to vote their way just because he’s a conservative. His voting record is still conservative, sure, but moderately so. He voted with the liberal side of the court on abortion, gay rights, affirmative action and the death penalty.
Kennedy’s retirement means that President Donald Trump will have a chance to profoundly impact American society. There is no question he will nominate someone who leans further to the right than Kennedy, thereby eliminating any question of which way close cases will go.
Unless you are a middle-aged white conservative male, today’s news should terrify you.
A few years ago, the notion of Roe v. Wade being overturned would have been farcical. Today, it seems likely. The rights of minorities are more imperiled today than ever, and it’s all because of a subservient Congress who will not do their job and act as a check on Trump’s mad lust for power.
Gay rights. Voting rights. Abortion. The right to equal treatment for minorities. These and so many more are now in danger of evaporating. Stephen Miller will get all of his wishes on immigration, and by his wishes I mean more white people and less of everything else.
There’s no real hope of Democrats delaying the confirmation of Trump’s nominee, even if they take the House majority in November. Sure, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell did exactly that in preventing a vote on President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. But McConnell has mysteriously changed his tune and now believes they need to follow established Senate norms. It’s crazy how that works.
I usually try to find a positive spin on things I write about, even when they’re slightly depressing. But there’s no way to spin this. There’s no sunshine. America is about to change, and it’s going to change for the worse.
I’ll let Dan Rather, who is a far better writer than I, take it from here, because his words might leave you with a little more hope than I can muster.
If you are deeply disturbed by what has happened, absorb the shock. But respond with even more determination. If you see this as a fight for the future of democracy, let those in power know that the will of the majority can still hold sway.
I remember many grave moments in our nation’s history when hope seemed to be a largely extinguished sliver of light on a distant horizon. But those who responded to those odds with a determination to march forward time and time again helped grow that light to a bright new sunrise on a better day.