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Anthony Kenney has been on the Supreme Court for a long time.
For conservatives who revere the constitutional separation of powers, it’s an understatement to say this Ronald Reagan appointee has been a disappointment.
Considered a “swing vote” on the court, he often swings the wrong way. He’s something of a switch-hitter – sometimes swinging right and sometimes swinging left depending on who’s pitching.
But he made a statement earlier this month that was somewhat encouraging.
Here’s what he told reporters in his hometown of Sacramento about the tendency of the court to legislate from the bench: “I think it’s a serious problem. A democracy should not be dependent for its major decisions on what nine unelected people from a narrow legal background have to say.”
Does he mean what he says?
Has he had an epiphany?
What impact will his expressed view have on upcoming decisions – notably California’s Proposition 8 in which voters in that very liberal state rejected same-sex marriage only to see federal courts determine that the definition of marriage has actually been wrong for the last 6,000 years?
Or, how about the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, which is likely to be up for review at the Supreme Court in a matter of days or weeks?
Typically, Supreme Court justices are influenced over time by the cultural pressures of living inside the beltway and a socially radical news media and pop culture. When the media notice these shifts in values and the willingness to scrap the law of the land in favor of personal opinion, they like to write profiles of justices “growing in their office.”
How about capitulating to the winds of social hedonism, hyper-secularism and moral relativism? That would be more accurate.
The question is whether Kennedy, once considered a “conservative” who respected the rule of law, has begun to swing back to his roots.
It would be a real shocker to the political and cultural establishment if that is that case.
I’m not holding my breath.
One common-sense statement made in his hometown does not a worldview make.
Nevertheless, with Obama entrenched in the White House for another four years, Harry Reid entrenched as the majority leader of the Senate for another two and weakling Republican John Boehner entrenched as House speaker for the next two, Kennedy emerges as an important figure in the direction of the country – perhaps more important than ever before.
Of course, there is another wild card on the court, too.
Chief Justice John Roberts shocked conservatives by affirming the constitutional legitimacy of Obamacare.
So when it comes time to imminent Supreme Court decisions on the sanctity of the institution of marriage, it’s something of a crapshoot.
Both Roberts and Kennedy need to wake up and get it right.
But many court observers are encouraged by Kennedy’s words – words that could have been uttered by Ronald Reagan himself or Justice Antonin Scalia or Justice Clarence Thomas or Justice Samuel Alito.
Could the institution of marriage actually be saved by a Supreme Court decision, despite its drift leftward over the years?
We will have the answer shortly.
It will depend on largely on two men – Roberts and Kennedy.
These decisions are among the most important ever in the history of the Supreme Court.
Of course, even in the best-case scenario, it won’t represent the final word.
The social activists determined to destroy the institution of marriage will continue their war on morality, the rule of law, common sense and decency. They’re in it for the long haul.
But America is badly in need of reprieve from the social chaos and madness that has swept the country for the last few decades.
Pray the Supreme Court finally gets one right.