Meet Trump’s candidates for the Supreme Court
After the unexpected announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy regarding his retirement, President Donald Trump now has the possibility of nominating a second judge to the Supreme Court within just 18 months as president. The options for his replacement have alerted Democrats, who warn of the danger of the nation's highest court being deeply conservative for generations.
It’s time to seriously consider the threat of the Trump administration on the future of the United States.
Not only has the president instituted a questionable ideological policy in his government - against immigrants, transgender people and abortion rights, for example - but the heart of legality in the country will now be transformed in favor of a more staunch conservatism.
During the last day of the Supreme Court session, Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, announced that he would retire this month after 30 years of service.
"It has been a great honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of them on the Supreme Court," Kennedy said in a statement.
After being named by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, and having been a key voice in the rights for the LGBTQ community and legal abortion - as well as in the elimination of spending limits for the government - the position that Kennedy leaves free will allow the Trump government to radicalize its influence in the nation's highest court.
"Trump's nominee is likely to give conservatives a solid majority and will face a Senate process in which, while Republicans only hold the slimmest of majorities, Democrats cannot delay confirmation," the Associated Press explained.
The intimate relationship between Kennedy and Trump has triggered a wave of theories that imply a pact behind the scenes by both characters to facilitate the president's establishment of his most controversial policies.
Several media immediately reported after Kennedy's announcement the commercial relationship between Trump and the judge's son, Justin Kennedy, who "spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank," at which time the bank "became Mr. Trump's most important lender, dispensing well over $1bn in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago, at a time when other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history," The Independent reported.
For better or for worse, the retirement of Kennedy is a fact, and President Trump has not wasted time in interviewing his possible candidates, as he announced on Monday during his press conference with the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.
"I had a very, very interesting morning," he said of his meeting with the candidates, without mentioning them by name, but confirming that he would have his nomination for July 9.
The president met with four federal judges of the appeals court, the Washington Post reported. Among them: Brett M. Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, Amul R. Thapar and Raymond Kethledge.
But on Thursday, the president reduced his list to just three, discarding Thapar from his final list, according to sources close to the decision.
Trump's options speak for themselves:
The current federal judge in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is remembered for her confrontation with Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein during her confirmation hearing to her current post, in which she could not disguise her religious radicalism.
Barrett is a member of a revival religious group called "People of Praise," which is described by many as a "cult" more than as a traditional church, and with some symbolic tendencies to Margaret Atwood's novel "The Handmaid's Tale."
This type of affiliations has put Barrett at the epicenter of the debate on the right to abortion, especially because of her opposition to cases like Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act.
"The question is to what extent Barrett's religion will affect her jurisprudence," Vox questions. "Liberal groups have identified writing on questions of Catholic faith and constitutional interpretation as concerning, noting a piece that Barrett co-authored and that rejected Judge William Brennan's argument that Catholic judges should always hold the Constitution as more important than their religious faith."
This federal appeals judge is another of Trump's options to replace Kennedy, being considered by the president for his high-profile career which includes working under the tutelage of Anthony Kennedy, as well as his participation in cases such as that of Cuban child Elián González and the historic recount of the George W. Bush campaign in Florida.
Although his closeness to the Bush administration could detract points, it was his work in the authorship of the Starr Report (detailing the adventure of President Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky), as well as his voice against the "aggressive regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency of Obama" that has put him on the list of candidates.
Kethledge, who also serves as federal appellate judge, appears to be the best option to replace Kennedy.
According to the Washington Post, this candidate could bring “political upside to the process" for having “ruled steadily in a fashion consistent with the original intent of the Constitution and its amendments, and faithful to the statutes passed by the executive and legislative branches," something that the other candidates could not achieve.
This method is what the Post describes as "an originalist approach" to the legislature, with entrenched traditional positions regarding the carrying of arms, the Catholic faith and the defense of the economic interests of conservative political groups.
In short, Kethledge could be the least of the evils in a Supreme Court designed to suit the president.