The retirement of Justice Kennedy, one year ago today

By Dave Andrusko

It had long been rumored, but now it became official. One year ago today, following the end of the term, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court , effective July 31, 2018.

Of course we knew what was coming next. Those of us greybeards vividly remembered the successful pro-abortion barrage against Judge Robert Bork and the unsuccessful assault on Judge Clarence Thomas.

But even yours truly, who expected the battle over Kennedy’s replacement to the worse yet, did not begin to appreciate the depths to which pro-abortion Democrats, under the tutelage of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, would sink in an effort to sabotage the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

In a word, it was a mugging, in which no holds were barred.

Fortunately for all who believe in a modicum of fair play and the presumption of innocence, Judge Kavanaugh refused to succumb to a blitzkrieg of stomach-turning mudslinging, a bombardment of vicious ad hominem allegations, and barrage of below-the-belt character assassinations that would have sunk a lesser man.

Allow me to quote from what I wrote the day the Senate voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh:

Fending off an assault that made the “high-tech lynching” of Justice Clarence Thomas seem tame by comparison, the U.S. Senate on Saturday confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to sit on the Supreme Court afternoon by a vote of 50-48.

President Trump immediately tweeted, “I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court.”

The 53-year-old Kavanaugh was officially sworn in hours later by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Kavanaugh, who replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy, is President Trump’s second appointment to the nation’s highest court, joining Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Various pro-abortion organizations, in particular Planned Parenthood, and left-liberal outlets warned of retribution against senators courageous enough to stand for the rule of law and the presumption of innocence. But recent public opinion polls have uniformly shown that the guttersnipe attacks against the 53-year-old Kavanaugh have galvanized pro-lifers and Republicans. The November 6 mid-term elections will determine whether the Senate remains under pro-life leadership.

In a foreshadowing of what would happen to any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court, should Democrats control the Senate, the moment President Trump announced his selection of Kavanaugh, pro-abortion Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said without hesitation, “I will oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have.”

The die was cast Friday when following a thoughtful, lengthy, and emotional speech, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said she would vote to confirm Kavanaugh, who had served for 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Sen. Collins’ position was unknown until her 45-minute-long remarks on the Senate floor. Shortly thereafter, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) issued a statement in which he said he would also vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh refused to fold under relentless attack, a profile in courage if ever there was one. Pro-life Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who masterfully navigated the shoals of an opposition of unparalleled viciousness, told the Washington Post, “I never thought Judge Kavanaugh would withdraw.” McConnell added, “When your integrity is attacked like his was, a withdrawal was certainly no solution to that, so we were in the fight to the finish.”

Pro-life Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) delivered a heroic speech at a key juncture. Graham defended Judge Kavanaugh’s honor and reputation and called out the Democratic opposition for a willingness to do anything to defeat the nominee.

National Right to Life, which applauded Kavanaugh’s selection on July 9 and worked in support of confirmation, added its congratulations.

“Today’s Senate vote is a victory for Judge Kavanaugh, and for the President, but also for the rule of law – it is a victory for all who believe that the federal courts should enforce the rights truly based on the text and history of the Constitution, and otherwise leave policy questions in the hands of elected legislators,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.

“Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley deserve the highest marks for their steadfast and courageous leadership during this contentious 13-week confirmation battle,” noted Douglas D. Johnson, senior policy advisor to National Right to Life. “Special commendation is due for Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), whose incisive public advocacy did much to dispel clouds of misinformation disseminated by many opponents of confirmation. In the end, every pro-life senator supported confirmation.”

The confirmation vote fell entirely along party lines with two exceptions. As noted, Democrat Manchin voted in support. Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, opposed confirmation but voted “present” as a courtesy to Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who was away walking his daughter down the aisle. …

Congratulations to Justice Kavanaugh who when his prospects for confirmation seemed bleakest, looked straight out and said

“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You’ve tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your effort, but your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and to destroy my family will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.”