It appears Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have been less-than-ethical in their bid to “transform” the judiciary by loading it up with so-called conservative judges.
Last week, I shared how the Senate was preparing to confirm Trump’s nomination of McConnell’s “not-qualified” protégé, Justin Walker, to a soon-to-be-vacated seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Yesterday, we learned why the seat will be open.
Judge Thomas Griffith, who agreed in March to step down, may have done so only after engaging in improper “partisan political activity” by coordinating his resignation with McConnell to assure his successor would be confirmed while Trump is in the White House and Republicans control the Senate.
Following a complaint over the matter by judicial watchdog Demand Justice, D.C. Circuit Chief Justice Sri Srinivasan referred their request for an investigation into the Walker nomination to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to get it assigned to another circuit for review.
This isn’t the first time Trump and McConnell have engaged in this kind of cronyism when it comes to the judiciary — especially when doing so serves to protect and promote their personal political ambitions.
Using the same kind of improper “partisan political activity” we’re witnessing with the Walker nomination, Trump negotiated a little quid pro quo when Anthony Kennedy decided to retire. Kennedy agreed to step down on the condition that Kavanaugh (his former law clerk) would be appointed to replace him on the bench.
This agreement took place after it was revealed that Trump had a back channel connection to Kennedy through their children, specifically Justin Kennedy. Justin was working for Deutsche Bank — yes, THAT Deutsche Bank — when the institution loaned Trump $1 billion for real estate investing after Mr. Art of the Deal had been denied loans from other banks due to his poor credit rating.
Trump had a “non-Kennedy” reason to support Kavanaugh as well — the Mueller investigation. Kavanaugh had written prior to his nomination that a sitting president is essentially above the law, saying “I believe that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office.”
Many will argue that shady backdoor negotiations involving judicial appointments are not a violation of the so-called “Code of Judicial Conduct,” and are therefore no big deal. But they’re missing the point.
Cronyism and inside-the-beltway politics are the tools of the corrupt Republican/Democrat duopoly, and until we get rid of them and the rest of the liberty-killing establishment, we’ll never get our country back.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable and promotes conservative principles over political parties.