Before we get all worked up and apoplectic over the individual who will get Donald J. Trump’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, let’s consider the reality of the departing justice, Anthony Kennedy.
Kennedy has been hailed as a crucial “swing vote” on the court. He sides with liberals on occasion, but mostly sides with the conservative majority.
It’s good to understand that the conservative justices hold a 5-4 majority on the court. That majority won’t change.
Indeed, I am of the opinion that’s being shared that the next swing vote will likely belong to none other than Chief Justice John Roberts, who on occasion has sided with the liberal bloc of justices on key decisions, such as the ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act.
The court’s conservative-liberal balance won’t change fundamentally, in my view, with whoever the president nominates.
The serious crap storm is going to erupt in the event one of the court’s liberal justices decides to call it a day.
However, the president’s selection — which he plans to announce on July 9 — is no doubt going to endure the kind of public scrutiny not seen since, oh, Robert Bork was defeated in 1987.
The symmetry of that fact also is fascinating.
The U.S. Senate rejected Bork’s nomination; then Douglas Ginsburg pulled out after admitting to smoking weed while in college. President Reagan’s third pick for the court? Anthony Kennedy.