Conservatives thought this Supreme Court term would be different.
Still reeling from losses last year in major cases on health care and same-sex marriage, they welcomed a new docket in October studded with cases that seemed poised to move the law to the right.But then came two unexpected turns of events. Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving member of the court’s five-justice conservative wing, died. And Justice Anthony M. Kennedy veered left in two of the term’s biggest cases, joining the court’s liberals in significant decisions favoring affirmative action and abortion rights.
In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the affirmative-action case, and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the abortion case, Kennedy voted for (and in the affirmative-action case, personally wrote) strongly worded opinions that suggest the Court has, in fact, moved to the left on these agenda issues.These two votes announced this week don’t by any stretch make him a new-hatched liberal. Bear in mind that, unless something really bizarre went on behind the scenes, he voted to affirm the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in United States v. Texas, the jury-rigged partisan takedown of the administration’s “deferred-action” immigration plan. And his comments from the bench during oral arguments in the public-employee union case, Friedrich v. California Teachers Association, suggest that he believes that 21st-century America is a soulless, totalitarian wasteland of federal overreach and executive tyranny.
In fact, it's really not a good summer to be a Republican or conservative generally.
In the space of just two days:—The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that Texas' onerous abortion law were an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to the procedure.
—The House Select Committee on Benghazi released its final report on the tragic 2012 attacks that killed four Americans, finding "no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton," according to the New York Times.
—Donald Trump gave a speech in front a literal garbage pile in which he called for the destruction of existing trade pacts and an all-out trade war with China.
It's a political cliché that the Republican Party comprises three pillars: religious, defense and economic. In just two days, all three have been turned upside down.