Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/28/2018: The Post-Kennedy Retirement Announcement Freak-Out

Good Morning!

1. How prescient of me to headline yesterday’s warm-up “Deranged” before Justice Kennedy announced his retirement and the progressive/Democratic/ mainstream media/social media freakout commenced!

2. Duh. Since nobody seems to be writing about how perfectly this proves the Trump-inflicted brain damage on the Left, allow me:

  • Justice Kennedy is 81. As my dad used to say when he entered his 8th decade, he’s in the red zone, and can drop dead at any second. Did Democrats really assume he would keep working forever?

Their shock at this is ridiculous and unbelievable. WHAT? An 81-year-old judge is retiring?

  • This is a wonderful example of how people assume that everyone else thinks as they do. The Trump-Deranged have reached the point where they would saw their pets in half to undermine the President, so they assume that Kennedy feels the same way.

There is no evidence that he does, in part because, unlike Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who has periodically trumpeted her contempt for the President, he has been judicially discrete and professional.

  • It is per se irresponsible for an 81-year-old in a challenging job with national impact not to step down before he or she becomes incompetent, or drops dead. Scalia was irresponsible not to retire. Ginsberg should retire (she is 84). Breyer is two months short of 80: he should retire.

Outside of judges, we have multiple members of Congress, notably Pelosi and John McCain, who are being unethical by not stepping aside.

  • The bottom line is that nobody should be freaking out, because everyone should have been prepared for it.

3. We get it! You are vicious, juvenile, angry, rigis and irrational people. The Daily News nicely sums up the calm, analytical, reasoned reaction by the Left:

Meanwhile, “The Daily Show’s” Trevor Noah said, “It feels like for the next 30 years America is going to change in a horrible direction. In some ways it feels like all hope is dead and nothing can bring it back.” The liberal site Splinter tweeted, “FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK.” Trenchant point.  Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said, “Any one of President Trump’s list of proposed SCOTUS justices would overturn Roe v. Wade and threaten our fundamental rights. I’ll fight to make sure there are no hearings to replace Justice Kennedy until after the election. This is our democracy. Let’s fight like it.” A likely rival of Gillibrand’s for the 2020 Presidential nomination, California’s Kamala Harris, said on MSNBC, “We’re looking at a destruction of the Constitution of the United States as far as I can tell based on all the folks he’s been appointing thus far for lifetime appointments. He’s been appointing ideologues, he’s been appointing people who have refused to agree that Brown v. Board of Education is settled law.” Translation:Auntie Em, Auntie Em! It’s a twister!”

“Fuck. You. Justice Kennedy,” tweeted ThinkProgress’s editor Ian Millhiser. Stay classy, Progressives! More hysteria issued from liberal commentator Stephen Wolf, who tweeted, “Anthony Kennedy’s replacement with another Neil Gorsuch is a code red for American democracy. Republicans are successfully making us more & more like authoritarian regimes like Turkey, Hungary, & Russia with each passing day.” Are these people serious, lying, or just going mad? Former Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.) called for an insurrection:

“It’s time for Democrats to throw down, and what I mean by that is we’ve been playing by the rule book, and Donald Trump and Republicans have been playing by street rules…It also means having the street rise up against them in Maine, in Alaska, and of course in Washington, and I don’t think it’s time to be cute anymore.”

Over on Trump-Derangement Central, aka MSNBC, Chris Matthews started screaming about how the Democrats had to wreak “vengeance” for Mitch McConnell’s treatment of Merrick Garland, Obama’s failed nomination, and that the GOP had “no right” to confirm Trump’s new Justice pick. Hollywood has just started its freak-out: here’s Bette Midler…

 “Every single institution or agency in our government is being dismantled by this administration. Congress, gone, SCOTUS, gone, the Executive branch, in the hands of a madman, the FBI, DOE, EPA, etc. etc. etc. And you thought it couldn’t happen here.”

4.   Adam White of the Hoover Institute tweeted, “When a single judge’s retirement turns the entire political world on its ear, we ought to consider that perhaps the Supreme Court has claimed too much power in our republic.”

No, we ought to consider why our education system, including college, leaves our citizens so stunningly ignorant about history and the U.S. Supreme Court. No single replacement on the Court has ever had the kind of momentous national impact the hysterics are predicting.  Justices evolve and change, often to counter realignments caused by retirements and new members.

5. Worst of the worst. I need a special entry for CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. He is consistently partisan, biased and dishonest in his analysis, and I have been remiss in not flagging his act before. Yesterday, he was deliberately trying to panic the Left, especially women and the LGBTQ community.He predicted that Kennedy leaving the Court meant that Roe v. Wade was doomed. Do you know how often a 50 year-old SCOTUS decision on a major social issue has been reversed? It literally doesn’t happen. The doctrine of stare decisis compels the Supreme Court to respect the rulings of the past Courts, unless one of them is clearly wrong, meaning a 9-0 vote (as in Brown v. Bd. of Education) or close to it. Toobin knows this. He is lying and fear-mongering to help the Democrats energize their base. In his rush to mislead, Toobin also said, at one point, that the Court would make abortion “illegal.”  It can’t make abortion illegal, and again, he knows this.

6. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck.…Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in the Senate, “Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016: not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year…Anything but that would be the absolute height of hypocrisy. ” This was pure deceit, and even the Washington Post caught it:

But here’s the rub: the Republican position, whether you disagreed with it or not, clearly was based on the fact that it was a presidential election year. Here’s Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on ABC’s “This Week” on March 20, 2016:

“The American people are in the middle of choosing who the next president is going to be. And that next president ought to have this appointment, which will affect the Supreme Court, for probably a quarter of a century.”

Note the reference to the presidential election — not just any election.

7. And, of course...we are being bombarded by the increasingly popular form of fake news I call “future news,” like this, from NBC: “Kennedy’s retirement could mean new attack on legal abortion.”

Or, of course, it might not, especially since we don’t know who’s replacing him yet.  But why wait for the news, when you can panic people over what might happen?


Sources: The Federalist, Washington Times, Washington Post

78 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/28/2018: The Post-Kennedy Retirement Announcement Freak-Out

  1. I find it amusing that the left, after years of projecting on the right those little indiscretions (racism, sexism, religious intolerance, etc.) they themselves cherish, suddenly are aghast that the boogiemen they created out of drug induced brain vapors might treat them exactly as progressives claimed they would all along, while having the ability to do so at the same time.

    Problem is, since the Trump election, progressives have created exactly the climate for the right to forgo principle and stick it to the left.

    I am popping popcorn. Anyone in Texas who cares for some can drop by (anyone is welcome, but Texas is such a BIG state that the popcorn might be gone before my friends from other states could drive here).

    Condign justice for progressives. I have a schadenboner!

  2. I just saw an article online that sums up the insanity of the Left:

    “Justice Kennedy Chose To Let Trump Pick His Replacement. That’s His Legacy.” by a HuffPo contributor.

    That’s right. A 30-year career on the Supreme Court is swept aside because he chose to retire while Public Enemy Number One is President.

  3. I’m really at a loss for words over the reaction to Kennedy’s retirement announcement. It seems to me if any other conservative had won the nomination and prevailed over Hillary, their nominations probably wouldn’t have been much out of line with the nominations Trump will propose. However, the response to the nominations, because they are from Trump, will probably be vile.

  4. #4 I think Adam White’s read of the Leftist freak-out is accurate though. It seems the activists rely very heavily on the court to overturn legislation they do not like and to solidify or modify legislation they want to be a particular way. That’s not the purpose of SCOTUS, but it seems increasingly that those who want to change our society see SCOTUS as a power-wielding tool. For those people, Adam’s admonishment seems apt. But this does not disagree with your analysis about need for better education.

  5. #6 Even if the DNC flips the Senate, given their level of spite and vindictiveness, they’d hold out on a Senate appointment for 2 years on the hope a Democrat wins in 2020. How much more broken would the system be then.

    Not only that, if we are to assume that there is some sort of “election year rule” (there isn’t…and I’d submit there’s not even a “presidential election year rule” outside of the extenuating circumstances facing the nation in 2016)…but should we assume that there’s an “election year rule”, Shumer, is essentially saying that for 50% of the political timeline, SCOTUS nominations would be verboten.


    What stupidity.

    • Michael: what are the 2016 ‘extenuating circumstances’ you have in mind and how could they be codeified for some sort of agreed regulation /legislation? Isn’t it time the ‘adults’ got together and sorted this out?

      • My summary:

        1) Obama’s ultra-divisive attitude towards the Republic.

        2) His demonstration of placing activist judges on the bench.

        The Senate had a duty, in his case, to block his next nomination. That it coincided with a risky political gamble that worked out, is moral luck.

        The same could be said now of Trump. Though I’m not quite so certain that it is Trump who is actively trying to tear this nation into shreds. I’d have to consider this further action on the part of the Left. In which case, I see little duty on McConnell’s part to delay a vote on Trump’s nominations.

  6. And the more Democrats freak out, the more likely Trump gets reelected, and the more likely he gets to pick half the court.

    They are really their own worse enemy.

  7. Also, Left twitter has floated the idea that now, is, of course, the time to consider expanding the Supreme Court.

    OK. Let’s give Trump 3 or 4 new picks.

    I wonder if “Handmaid’s Tale” is the only dose of Leftists receive of what they think Conservative society is really like? Because I’ve seen enough of Left-internet, convinced that Kennedy’s retirement will usher in Aunt Lydia’s term of office tomorrow.

      • He did fail to expand the court. He succeeded in getting all his legislation approved.

        Long live the Four Horsemen. They tried.

        • Yes, it failed for FDR. But even most of his supporters respected tradition and rejected the court-packing scheme. They felt nothing like the rage and sense of grievance that the anti-Trump forces do. I have no doubt at all that if the Democrats get control of the presidency and both houses of Congress, they will immediately expand the court by as many justices as it takes to ensure an activist left-wing majority. They will feel entitled to use any means necessary to erase everything that Trump has done.

          • Greg, I’m very much afraid you’re right. Unless the GOP does it first, which they may wish to, but are unlikely to have the time to do.

            I think it’s basically foregone conclusion that this will happen. A 15 member SCOTUS.

            You know I still have this naive belief that SCOTUS decisions shouldn’t be completely predictable beforehand from the political beliefs of the judges. I think those days are long gone though, at least for my lifetime.

            • Any fears about expanding the Supreme Court fall in lithe same camp as my mother in law saying that Obama was going to amend the constitution so he could be president for more than two terms.

              Ain’t gonna happen.

              • That idea was floated as soon as he was elected, with brainless comments from liberals asking “is there any way we can get him in NOW, before January?” and “can we start the process NOW so he can serve more than two terms?” No one ever seriously considered either.

    • Mashable has an article title, “After Kennedy’s retirement, are we entering ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ territory?” 😀

      • oh, I can top that one: read this, from Splinter:
        Apparent a judge is a monster if 1) He thinks Roe is a bad decision (it is) 2) supports the Second amendment 3) opposed the AFA’s birth control mandate 4)spoke to a group the SPLC calls a “hate group” 4) ruled ruled in favor of Tea Party groups who claimed they’d been discriminated against by the IRS, since the IRS was, in fact, doing so, as it finally admitted.


          • Advice: Never read comments unless they’re here. You could be tempted to jump in to defend Reason . . . and never be heard from again.

            • Oy; I wish I’d scrolled down and read this before I clicked on the comments.

              I felt like I needed a debriefing with 40 grit sandpaper…and that was just for the Lefty-on-Lefty comments.

              Mercy me, the viciously viscous invective leveled at fellow Trump haters, with whom you’d think they’d feel aligned, makes unhinged look like safe harbor!

        • Splinter has already been established as SO credible. It’s a cesspit of hateful self-worshippers who’d like to see us Generation Xers and anyone who just MIGHT think different from them in the urn. Anyone who gives that site even a second of credit is a complete idiot.

    • Re Handmaid’s tale;

      Matthews pressed again: “Do you believe in abortion or no as a principle?”

      “The answer is there has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said.

      “For the woman?” Matthews said.

      Trump said, “Yes,” and nodded. Matthews pressed further: 10 days or 10 years? Trump said he didn’t know, and that it’s “complicated.”

      “It will have to be determined,” Trump said.

      • So, even with an extreme stance such as punishing abortion, you do realize that is still light-years away from the society depicted in Handmaid’s Tale? And yet, a huge swathe of Leftists, which I guess must include you now, still think Handmaid’s Tale is an informative description of a conservative vision…


        • I guess I must be a Leftist now. Funny, I was always well to the right of the mainstream.

          That was in the days when the Republican party didn’t elect anyone in a primary whose platform includes ridding the nation of inferior races, especially Jews. Let alone multiple anyone’s in multiple states.

          • To see how far leftist I am now, here are two far to the left of today’s DNC, people who now would be called Democratic Socialists, debating each other in 1980.

            I’m only a little to the right of them. Far to the left of today’s Democrats.

          • Yes, you are a Leftist. I don’t care where your politics says you fall on the spectrum in, where are you…Australia?… In America, you’d be solidly on the Left, even if you manage to have a one off opinion that would be considered conservative.

            And none of that has anything to do with onesies or twosies freakshows that managed to win Republican primaries. Both parties have gotten a few wackos, like New York’s openly running bolshevik. Anomalies may cause concern, but are hardly useful for drawing conclusions, as you are prone to do.

  8. I might add, in the wake of the Garland failure, I saw certain liberal people propose that the law (actually the Constitution) be changed to say that if the Senate does not act upon a Presidential appointment within 60 days of official announcement, then the Senate will be deemed to have waived its power to advise and consent and the appointment will be considered automatically confirmed. Apart from the fact that a proposal like that would require the Senate to vote to give up one of its enumerated powers, I wonder if those same liberal people would want that proposal to be in force now, with the key swing justice stepping aside and the SCOTUS about to go hard to starboard.

    • No, they wouldn’t. Just like the states that are changing their laws so that the electoral votes have to go to the winner of the popular vote automatically would hate to have to give them to a Republican. Just like they would loathe giving up the Electoral College only to have a Democrat lose the popular vote when they would have won the electoral vote. People who make proposals like this either A) lack enough foresight to see how their hysterical rule changing could bite them in the back in the future or B) assuming the Democratic Party will be in power forever and will never feel the swift rebuke of the voters.

      • assuming the Democratic Party will be in power forever

        That was where they thought they were going: one party rule. That is one reason they are so freaked out now: all of their ‘gains’ over the past decade, and maybe the past three decades, are subject to reversal because they used non legislative processes to get their way.

        • They do. The religion of the left is the worship of self – what I think is right, what I feel, what I want. That’s why they’re for same-sex-marriage, which most higher authority texts say is a non-starter, that’s why they’re for open borders, that’s why abortion is their highest sacrament. That’s also why they have no problem clamping down on free speech and denying others the ability to defend themselves.

  9. “Did Democrats really assume he would keep working forever?”
    Never underestimate the power of magical thinking.

    “It’s time for Democrats to throw down, and what I mean by that is we’ve been playing by the rule book, and Donald Trump and Republicans have been playing by street rules…”
    Really? REALLY?!? Do they really believe this? My God; talk about delusions of persecution!

    MSNBC, “We’re looking at a destruction of the Constitution of the United States as far as I can tell based on all the folks he’s been appointing thus far for lifetime appointments. He’s been appointing ideologues…”
    Good God; not ideologues! Why can’t we have representatives who aren’t afraid to break ranks with their colleagues and vote on the issues, like my progressive heroes?

        • Nuclear option.

          The combination of the two broke things. Long-standing traditions. There’s been a lot of that since the GOP gained both houses. But no matter who was responsible, the important thing is that tradition is no longer a barrier. A President can nominate a SCOTUS appointment who will say the President has the power to pardon himself. The Mueller findings may be rendered moot.

          The first time a President under criminal investigation could do that with confidence that his appointment would be confirmed. Now tell me that these are normal times, please.

          • All of those things were created by the Democrats, Sue, or already existed.

            The nuclear option was used by your buddy Reid.

            Any President can pardon anyone, including himself, for anything. He still can be impeached.

            Mueller is on a witch hunt and is a disgrace. You know this.

            Funny how the rationalization about normal times comes out when the progressives don’t get their way. Where were you when Obama spied upon a political campaign? Used the IRS to get re-elected? Passed the single greatest failure of a healthcare law while knowingly lying to the public? This could go on all day!

            Just admit you are a hack, Sue.

  10. So, would President Trump propose Merrick Garland who was, as I recall, considered to be the best possible choice that Republicans could have had from President Obama?

    What is the general opinion, today, of Judge Garland’s position, and just exactly what would that do to all the leftist rhetoric?

    • Garland is a centrist/left judge, and an excellent one. Of course, Trump will not appoint such a judge, though I doubt he has any concept of what a conservative judge is or particularly cares. I doubt he has ever read a SCOTUS opinion in his life.

      • On the list of 50 candidates, only about half are what I would call extreme rightists, and even then, most of those are competent.
        Not a hint of centre though. Bipartisanship? Fugedaboudit..

        No guarantee that another Roy Moore won’t be nominated. Some have been appointed to Federal courts already.

      • “Of course, Trump will not appoint such a judge”. Who knows; what a great way to put a cat amongst the pigeons!

        • Now the list has been winnowed to 25, unless a pick is made outside the list – Roy Cooper’s name has come up, Andrew Neopilitano is now seen as too Leftist(!), No, it’s not a possibility.

          Mitch McConnell has stated that any nomination will be confirmed without debate before November. I believe him. As I said above, traditions are no longer barriers. The only thing that might prevent that is some kind of revolt by GOP senators, without any DNC counterparts. Possible. Unlikely (unless it’s Cooper or some on the list of the same ilk).

  11. Shining intellectual of the Left, Alyssa Milano, posits that the sitting President should not be able to appoint a Justice to fill a vacancy while he is under federal investigation.

  12. He is right to step down, but I, personally, will miss him. It was refreshing to have one supreme court justice who could go either way. I’ve known some lawyers who admitted that they argued in front of the Supreme Court just to convince him of a particular position (as they already knew which way the other judges would lean).

  13. Of course the Left should be prepared. But what can they do?

    The Nuclear option has already been deployed by the GOP.
    The Gorsuch situation shows the GOP will break whatever existing conventions are necessary to get and retain power.

    To say that the Left should abide by “the system” doesn’t recognise that “the system” as it was traditionally known is no longer extant.

    This is a doubleplusungood Bad Thing™.

    When Ginsberg retires, as she should have years ago, the SCOTUS will be further to the Right than it was at any time last century.

    Obergefell? Will last a year. Roe vs Wade? Less. Lawrence vs Texas? A few years, with luck. Loving vs Virginia? May well stay for much longer, there are limits. I think.

    The vehicles for overturning the first three are already on state lawbooks, and cases proceeding in the first two.

    I will remind you of Trump’s words in 2016. Supposedly about popular influence on the government, remember?

    “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Mr. Trump said, as the crowd began to boo. He quickly added: “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”

    I don’t know either. Can we all agree that a Second Amendment Solution would be an even worse thing than anything that has the before? Please? That what was meant was some kind of hitherto unknown popular power of persuasion over the SCOTUS?

    • Harry Reid implemented the nuclear option for judicial nominees and was celebrated for it by the Schumer, et al an the media.

    • The Nuclear option has already been deployed by the GOP.
      The Gorsuch situation shows the GOP will break whatever existing conventions are necessary to get and retain power.

      The Gorsuch situation’s foundations were laid when then-Senator Barack Obama joined an attempted filibuster regarding the nomination of Samuel Alito.

    • Yeah, the GOP were not the first to try to stonewall a Justice’s appointment. I expect people in the news industry to have memories longer than 9 years.

      And regardless, the Republicans had a majority in 2016. And absolutely would have accepted Hillary making the appointment, had she won. Not accepting a qualified nomination isn’t a “nuclear option.” It isn’t even as bad as a filibuster.

      • ” And absolutely would have accepted Hillary making the appointment”

        Like they did with Obama???? You have to be kidding.

        The reason that the nuclear option was deployed for federal judges in 2013 – but not SCOTUS – was the declaration at that time by the GOP that they would refuse to confirm any Obama nominee whatsoever.

        There are dozens of Obama nominees who are Republicans who are now being nominated for a third time by Trump because of this blanket ban.

        • But not SCOTUS.

          Recall that the principle was that all qualified judges would be approved if nominated for SCOTUS, because elections have consequences, and every President should be able to nominate who they want. It was broken by another freak-out, when an undoubtedly qualified—super-qualified—nominee, Robert Bork, was blocked because he was too strong as a conservative. THis, ironically, is who we ended up with Kennedy. The old system worked, this obviously doesn’t. Bork led directly to Reid’s move, which led to Garland’s wrongful rejection, which led to the end of filibusters on SCOTUS too.

  14. 5 “Enemies of the People” to use the Leader’s words exterminated yesterday, I see.

    The shooting comes just two days after Milo Yiannopoulos, formerly of far-right fake news site Breitbart, sent threatening text messages to reporters from the Observer and the Daily Beast.

    “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” Mr Yiannopoulos wrote.

    Asked what prompted the comments, Mr Yiannopoulos told the Observer it was his “standard response to a request for comment”.

    Within two hours of the shooting, Mr Yiannopoulos posted a lengthy defence of his actions on his Facebook page, blaming the journalists who reported his inflammatory response for the deaths in Maryland.

    “I sent a troll about ‘vigilante death squads’ as a *private* response to a few hostile journalists who were asking me for comment, basically as a way of saying, ‘F**k off.’ They then published it,” he wrote.

    “The responsibility for that lies squarely and wholly with the Beast and the Observer for drumming up fake hysteria about a private joke,” he added, before predicting the gunman would soon be outed as a “demented left-winger”.

    “Let’s hope it’s another transgender shooter, too, so the casualties are minimal.”

    He said he has no regrets about sending the texts

    The remark about “transgender shooter” refers to YouTube shooter Nasim Aghdal, who despite all evidence to the contrary, is apparently transgender according to Trumpistas. Because they know what they know, and the alt facts of the Make America Great Movement beat real ones. It’s all the Left’s fault you see.

    • The guy had sued the paper, probably on the same kind of claim as the EA commenter who sued me. And he’s Hispanic. This goes right down the MSM memory hole. No narratives here.

      • Ramos did give warning to these Enemies of the People (to use the Leader’s own words)

        “Referring to @realDonaldTrump as ‘unqualified,’” he tweeted at the newspaper in 2015, “@capgaznews could end badly (again).”

        Move along, nothing to see here… He’s just your standard Deplorable.

      • Well, no thorough and honest narratives.

        I still see the story getting play, in the most sterile form possible and almost exclusively tied with a reference to Milo’s comment.

    • But this entire rant is an alt fact. The shooting had zero to do with politics. Why claim to be on higher moral ground than Milo (not difficult) and then try to use the deaths of innocent people to make an unrelated political argument on the internet?

  15. Y’all should read the TIME article “It’s Trump’s Court Now” by Massimo Calabresi. I think they must have used nearly every left wing propaganda talking point about Kennedy’s retirement.

  16. Over on Trump-Derangement Central, aka MSNBC, Chris Matthews started screaming about how the Democrats had to wreak “vengeance” for Mitch McConnell’s treatment of Merrick Garland, Obama’s failed nomination, and that the GOP had “no right” to confirm Trump’s new Justice pick

    Could not blocking a confirmation vote on Merrick Garland be considered vengeance for the attempted filibuster on the confirmation vote of Samuel Alito.

    • On the last: no. A fiibuster then was standard Senate conduct used by both parties. What the GOP did to Garland was within the rules, but exploit a loophole to violate their spirit, much like what the Democrats did to Bork.

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