Many people who weren’t too fond of Donald Trump held their noses and hoped that voting for him would at least mean that the Supreme Court of the United States would get an “originalist boost.”  This week, their gambled proved to be exactly right.  Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama nominated only two justices in all eight years of their presidencies.  With the announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement yesterday, President Trump will get to nominate that many in his first two years.

The ramifications are staggering.

Though Kennedy was appointed by conservative stalwart Ronald Reagan, he was considered unpredictable and moderate.  Yes, he ruled conservatively on some core constitutional freedom cases that related to the First and Second Amendments, but he also helped advance and protect abortion rights and the sexual revolution. Slate‘s Mark Joseph Stern tweeted, “Justice Kennedy’s retirement is a catastrophe for liberals. Abortion access, same-sex marriage, voting rights, environmental regulations—they’re all on the line now. This is nothing short of a crisis for the left.”

That about sums it up.

But what leftists see as a crisis, Americans see as an opportunity.  National Review described the prospects best:

If Trump holds firm to his promise to choose his next justice from the list he put forward last November, the Supreme Court will be dominated by a core of five largely originalist justices, and the next two oldest judges are both progressive. Justice Ginsburg is 85, and Justice Breyer turns 80 in August. It may be quite some time before a president will have the opportunity to so clearly and decisively impact the judicial philosophy of the Court. In the meantime, that means that originalists may well have a golden opportunity to reset our jurisprudence to align more with the words and meaning of the Constitution. It’s too much (perhaps) to argue that Roe could fall, but one can easily imagine the Court granting greater autonomy to state governments to regulate abortion providers. One can also imagine more robust protections for free speech and religious liberty, greater protection for the right to keep and bear arms, and further inroads against the unconstitutional administrative state.

I’ve long said that the unelected Supreme Court has way too much power over the lives of Americans, and have proposed a Convention of States to rein in the power of an overreaching federal government.  However, within the context of our current government framework, I can’t help but be filled with hope.

I know, I know.   Conservatives have had the chance to populate the Supreme Court and have failed miserably.  The majority of the current roster was appointed by — get this — Presidents Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.  Even so, the Court even moved left on key issues. As David French wrote, “Presidents don’t nominate robots. They nominate people who possess their own will. It will be imperative that conservatives closely evaluate Trump’s potential picks, but that person — no matter his or her record — will not only possess immense power, they’ll face immense pressure. May he or she possess not just the right philosophy, but also the necessary character to do all the job requires.”

Image Credit: via Flickr

Anthony Kennedy – The Oyez Project

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.