When the news broke that Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court it was treated as a shocking development by mainstream news outlets. But was it all that shocking that an 81-year-old man who has been in a job for three decades was ready to hang it up and take a permanent vacation? I know that being a Supreme Court Justice is the absolute greatest job in the world for anybody who ever went to law school but sooner or later enough is enough. Show me the hottest woman you’ve ever seen and I’ll show you some guy who’s sick and tired of waking up to her.
Did you catch that double-shot of sexist pig in that last comment? Good- because I want you to get a clear sense of where we are going in this country now that the Supreme Court has taken a sharp and harsh turn to the “Right.” Jurisprudence at the top of the judicial food chain has trended toward conservatism for years but some care has been taken to preserve the outer limits of decency in a civilized and liberal democracy. With Kennedy’s “swing seat” and any other vacancies that may arise before the 2020 election being filled by a president who has made it clear that his definition of “conservatism” is to preserve the right of white men to do and say whatever the hell they want and to tell everybody else what to do, we can expect all hell to break loose sooner than later. The storm is almost certain to last until the voters who haven’t even been born yet can restore a good and descent character to the Court. At age 47, I fully expect to be as dead as fried chicken when that day finally comes.
What is terribly frustrating is that this did not have to happen but Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, affectionately known by her fans as “The Notorious RBG” proved herself to be far less politically savvy than Anthony Kennedy.
There is the highest probability that they BOTH will be replaced by this lunatic president and that works against 100% of what Ginsberg advocates for and works in favor of 85% of what Kennedy advocates for. Kennedy was appointed by President Reagan and it made all the sense in the world that he would do his very best to retire under another Republican president with plenty of room to roam to ensure that the party that made all of his worldly dreams come true would be rewarded with a replacement that made it writhe in ecstasy right? Or is that kind of political cunning and practical calculation only practiced by Republicans? Unfortunately that appears to be the case and the gross miscalculation of Ruth Bader-Ginsberg is the clearest evidence supporting that conclusion.
Make no mistake about it, Bader-Ginsberg had no control over this court shifting from a “swing 5-4” court to a “hard 5-4” court. She didn’t cause Hilary to lose the damned election. But she decided to stubbornly hold her seat throughout Barack Obama’s presidency and that was NOT a cerebral move, it was an emotional move. She should have announced her retirement right after the 2012 election (when she was right about the age that Kennedy is now) so that President Obama could have appointed a spry and bright-eyed 52-year-old version of herself.
But she was vain and selfish in my opinion and wanted her succession to be handled a special way and by an even more special hand than that of the first black president. She wanted it to be done by the first woman president. Obviously, she expected Hilary Clinton to be the 45th president and wanted HER to fill the seat she was vacating. We all know how that worked out and now we are sitting here with an 85-year-old Justice as one of only three reliably progressive voices left.
Unless the Democrats absolutely run a “Boston” on the Republicans over the next four months those “swing vote” 5-4 decisions will give way to “hard-line” 5-4 decisions on EVERY case. And then if the actuarial tables hold up and Ginsberg falls ill or passes away, we will have hard line 6-3 votes on every case. And once we get there, That’s All Folks. Protections for voting rights? GONE. Protections for women’s equal rights? GONE. Protections for the disenfranchised both homegrown and immigrant? GONE and GONE. And a woman’s right to choose whether to carry her pregnancy to term will absolutely be the first to go. The conservative legal community is locked and loaded and will shoot the instant Trump puts his second white man on the Court.
It isn’t all on Bader-Ginsberg but I’ll be damned if she hasn’t made the hole we’re in a lot deeper than it had to be. And for no good reason beyond her own emotions and her vanity. But what else would you expect from a woman? There’s that sexist pig piping up again. If you ladies don’t like hearing that pig, you can still vote them out of your legislative bodies, of course. And you’re off to a damned good start. That’s your first strike in the battle to turn this tide. Trust and know that more men will be down with you than you might think. And if we’re lucky, somehow The Notorious RBG will outlast them all.