Distrusted by conservatives, mocked by the late Antonin Scalia for encasing helium gas instead of writing sturdy opinions, Anthony Kennedy was a unique figure on the bench, and like self-constructed so-called moderates like Susan Collins and Joe Manchin he encouraged supplicants, including, as the New York Times reports, the current occupier of the Oval Office:
As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr. Trump paused to chat with the justice.
“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”
Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.
During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.
About a week before the presidential address, Ivanka Trump had paid a visit to the Supreme Court as a guest of Justice Kennedy. The two had met at a lunch after the inauguration, and Ms. Trump brought along her daughter, Arabella Kushner. Occupying seats reserved for special guests, they saw the justices announce several decisions and hear an oral argument.
Ms. Trump tweeted about the visit and posted a photo. “Arabella & me at the Supreme Court today,” she wrote. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach her about the judicial system in our country firsthand.”
I loathe arguments from hypocrisy, but imagine the wails of hysteria from conservatives had we learned that a nephew of Sonia Sotomayor had donated thousands of dollars to the Barack Obama campaign in 2008, or if we learned that Martin Ginsburg had helped the Rose Law Firm with its billing records or something. A more pressing question: how do these conservatives all know each other?
On the subject of Kennedy’s prose, Ian Millhiser published a convincing article warning readers that it’s Kennedy’s imprecision when writing majority opinions in liberal victories that should worry us.