The Corner

Politics & Policy

Of Course Anthony Kennedy Is Comfortable Letting Trump Pick His Replacement

Chris Hayes makes an argument I expect we’ll see more of in the coming weeks:

There’s a fatal flaw in this line of thinking: Namely, that Trump’s judicial picks have been remarkably un-Trump-like. We’ve already seen one Trump pick, Neil Gorsuch, and he is universally acknowledged to be brilliant. As for the next one — the one that will sit in the seat Kennedy is vacating — we know that he or she will be chosen from a public list that even prominent progressive legal academics have said is full of “distinguished” and “impressive” names, and that he’ll be considered by a Republican Senate with an excellent record. There is nobody under consideration for the Court who wouldn’t also have been considered by a Marco Rubio or a John Kasich or a Jeb Bush. In this circumstance, unlike in others, that Trump is president is immaterial.

Politically, it is probably smart for Hayes to try to poison even the neutral things that Trump does. If he wants to rile up MSNBC viewers before the election, he’s onto something here. But he should know that his, ultimately, is a case that is aimed at low-information voters, and not at retiring members of the Supreme Court of the United States. Anthony Kennedy is a smart man, and he knows that this administration, for all its flaws, has a stellar record on the judiciary. Of course he’s fine with Trump choosing his replacement. He works with Neil Gorsuch.


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