Anthony Kennedy Got Tired of All the Winning

For the longest time, NeverTrump “conservatives” have insisted that the only good thing Donald Trump has done as president is to appoint Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court; and even then, they often claimed this was not enough to save his presidency in their minds, thus giving rise their oft-repeated mocking mantra for Trump supporters: “But Gorsuch!” Well, you’re damn right, “But Gorsuch!” Now, those eternal skeptics and pessimists are eating their own words faster than Kim Jong-un could eat his first-ever McDonald’s Happy Meal.

There has not been a Supreme Court decision season stacked with more victories for the Right than this one. Eight different rulings  this term pushed back against the onward march of the Left and proved just how strong a bulwark for freedom the Supreme Court can be.

The first and most high-profile decision, of course, was the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, where it was ruled that Colorado baker Jack Phillips had the right to refuse baking a wedding cake for a gay wedding due to his religious beliefs. This decision was reached by the court’s four conservative justices along with swing vote, Anthony Kennedy.

Then came a handful of cases that all dealt serious electoral blows to Democrats in three different states. In two different gerrymandering cases, the court ultimately ruled that Democrats in Wisconsin had no standing to sue for what they claimed were districts unfairly drawn in favor of the state GOP. They similarly ruled in another, later case that Democrats in Texas could not sufficiently prove that most of the state’s districts were drawn in a way that deliberately undermined minority voters and gave more power to the GOP. In addition, the court ruled that Ohio was legally allowed to continue its practice of purging inactive voters from the state’s voter rolls if they have not voted in two years, thus further reducing the possibility of voter fraud from fake, illegal, or deceased voters.

In another significant case, a victory was handed down by a much more unusual majority: The court’s four liberal justices, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, ultimately ruled that police must obtain a warrant in order to acquire an individual’s location information from their cell phones. Although the court’s three other conservative justices and Kennedy dissented, this case nevertheless was a win for Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

Then came a case with several different implications beyond the initial ruling, when the court’s four conservative justices and Justice Kennedy ultimately ruled that pro-life “crisis pregnancy centers” in California could continue operating without being forced explicitly to promote abortion as an option for its clients.

Not only was this a significant victory for the pro-life movement, it also overturned both a state law in California requiring such centers to promote abortion as an alternative, as well as a Ninth Circuit ruling upholding it. Such a ruling could potentially mark the first of many instances where the Supreme Court begins directly to take on, and defeat, the far-left government of California on its own turf, overturning such laws that violate Constitutional rights, and are sometimes passed just for the sake of spiting President Trump and his supporters. The shadow of this ruling, undoubtedly, will loom long over the highly-anticipated federal lawsuit concerning California’s “sanctuary state” law.

Then, in the most personal victory for President Trump thus far, the court upheld his executive order implementing a travel ban on several unstable Middle Eastern nations, as well as the Communist nations of Venezuela and North Korea. Not only was this a bucket of ice water over the Left’s narrative that this ban was an example of “Islamophobia,” but the majority opinion by Chief Justice Roberts directly reaffirmed that the president has “considerable authority over immigration,” as well as a “responsibility for keeping the nation safe.” This potentially could set a precedent for more sweeping executive action on the broader immigration front going forward, especially as Congress continues to drag its feet on the issue.

Perhaps the biggest ruling, in terms of overturning the long-standing status quo, was when the majority ruled that public-sector employees can no longer be coerced into paying union membership dues when they are not a member of said union. Although this does not encompass private-sector unions, it nevertheless sets a tone. Moreover, employees of such occupations as the federal government or public education no longer have to pay fees to organizations that overwhelmingly espouse left-wing talking points.

With all of these monumental cases and repeated setbacks for the Left, the only other possible victory in relation to the Supreme Court would be the announcement of a justice retiring and opening up a seat to potentially be filled with a right-wing judge . . . which is exactly what happened.

Kennedy, who has been the swing vote in many crucial decisions since he was first appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988, announced his intention to retire on July 31. In response, President Trump declared that the process to replace him would begin “immediately,” and that his successor would come from the same list from which he chose Gorsuch, which was compiled by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

As the battle for Congress in November rapidly approaches, this development instantly has become the top priority for the Trump Administration, coming off the failure of Congress’s latest efforts to reform the American immigration system. It will undoubtedly be an issue that rallies both party bases, and the eventual end result ultimately could determine the fate of the Senate.

Photo credit:  Zach Gibson/Getty Images

About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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