Let’s talk about Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, foxes and grapes, morbid humor, the inevitability of it all and, if we have any space left, cheese!
Many people are saying Kennedy picked July 31 to retire because he hates us. The court has nothing to do from now until the end of summer except sit around swimming pools in their robes sipping mint juleps and collecting their fat government checks. But he sets his retirement date two months ahead just so Trump has time to replace him before the midterms.
He’s waiting until the week after he turns 82. What’s that about? Does the pension deal get better with each birthday?
Foxes and grapes come to mind, also, as Kennedy has not been our swing vote buddy in the court lately. He wrote the majority opinion in the Citizens United case. He just voted with the court to uphold Trump’s travel ban and agreed with the idea that it’s OK for anti-abortion propagandists to pretend they are running full-service pregnancy clinics. The grapes have been rather sour lately, we won’t miss them.
Speaking of birthdays, I’ll be having one shortly and that reminds me of the inevitability of it all, and how I manage to cope. Which is in part to dwell on death and despair. I’m never as happy as I am when I’m imagining being crushed in The Big One, squashed between the floor and the ceiling of the high rise I live in.
And doesn’t life feel like that right now, anyway? Thanks to Anthony Kennedy?
He voted with the majority to let states crush unions. So what else could go wrong?
If anything I feel sorry for his successor, who even though they will likely be a Sith Lord in every respect, won’t have as much joy darkening our lives in all their time in office as Kennedy has been able to have just in one month.
Trump has said he won’t nominate anyone to replace Kennedy unless they are committed to repealing Roe v Wade. Justice Roberts is now the swing vote that could prevent that. It’s a turn of events that leaves a lot of us feeling like we are being dragged through the streets with a knife at our throats.
I turn 69 next week. I’d rather I was turning 72 and all this was behind us. But even that won’t happen because the new Sith Lord will still be with us, then and long after then. I felt better the night of Nov. 8, 2016, after Trump won the election, than I do contemplating what the Supreme Court will be for the foreseeable future.
So thinking about the Big One, or imagining an encounter with a speeding cement truck, or a toaster somehow falling in my bath water, is just the kind of comic relief I need to take my mind off all this and restore my good cheer.
Or, here’s another cheery thought: The immigrants being held in detention prior to being deported are to have no trials on order of Trump, even as he claims that they have violated criminal law. Anyone accused of being a criminal has a right to a trial to clear themselves of the charge, says the U.S. Constitution, even if they are not citizens. But Trump says otherwise, for these people. When will he say the right to a trial doesn’t apply to the rest of us?
Did you know parents are being billed for airfare for their children flown back to them? The Trump administration takes the children away and then charges for the return flights? Of course it does, because it can, and it can treat all of us that cruelly.
One of Justice Kennedy’s good opinions was the majority opinion of the court in the 2008 ruling that the writ of habeas corpus applied to noncitizens even if they are held in a prison that is technically outside of the United States. We liked him for that.
But now even that could turn around and bite us, because that decision reaffirmed the principle that the Supreme Court says what the law is, and the Supreme Court is about to get a new Sith Lord.
As for cheese, I’m on a low-cheese diet for my health. But my birthday is coming up. So as another way of cheering myself up, I’m contemplating suicide-by-stinky-cheese on the day.
I’m wondering what wine would go best with a lethal dose of Époisses de Bourgogne.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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