As much time as I spend providing evidence-based political analysis, I’ve never been a fan of empty speculation based on nothing, and I detest empty conspiracy theories that are at odds with the facts. When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – an elderly obese man whose doctor had recently declared him to be in poor health – passed away, some conservatives floated conspiracy theories about his death that were utterly ridiculous.
When it comes to today’s stunning resignation of Justice Anthony Kennedy, I have no interest in floating empty conspiracy theories about what might have happened. I do, however, feel compelled to point out the ways in which this simply does not add up. It was weird enough yesterday, when Kennedy went against his own track record on these matters and voted that Donald Trump’s Muslim ban was constitutional. He even spelled out in his decision that he was morally opposed to it, as if he were apologizing for casting what he knew was an incorrect vote.
Anthony Kennedy was appointed by a Republican President, but he’s always been a moderate, which is why he’s usually the swing vote on 5-4 decisions. His opinions have always been very lacking when it comes to understanding the law and the Constitution. But what he’s lacked in smarts, he’s generally made up for with heart. If you’ve read his opinion on the gay marriage ruling, you know what I’m talking about. The idea that he would vote in favor of the Muslim ban was completely out of character for him.
Even as I was scratching my head today and trying to figure why Justice Kennedy was going off the rails, suddenly he announced today that he’s retiring. So in a period of twenty-four hours, Kennedy has cast a vote he didn’t even agree with in order to hand Donald Trump a major policy victory, and he’s decided to let Trump pick his successor. I don’t know why this is happening, but it sure as hell doesn’t add up. Kennedy owes us an explanation, and short of that, there needs to be a full scale investigation.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report