Yesterday a lot of speculation came out about Anthony Kennedy’s motivations for retiring from the Supreme Court, and what his connections are to the Trump family.
For example, someone wrote on Democratic Underground:
“Given the reported ties between Anthony Kennedy and Trump/Kushner there should be a thorough investigation of Kennedy and his family to see whether or not his retirement was bought.”
The fact is that there is a long history of “back channels” and very extensive financial dealings between Anthony Kennedy and Donald Trump, and their respective families. It is not unreasonable for these connections to be more fully investigated.
One article that explored these connections in detail appeared in POLITICO.
After Donald Trump’s State of the Union address a conversation took place between Trump and Justice Kennedy which showed they had an ongoing relationship with deep family connections.
The conversation went like this:
“Say hello to your boy,” Trump said, “Special guy.”
“Your kids have been very nice to him,” Kennedy replied.
“Well,” Trump said, “they love him, and they love him in New York.”
It turns out that Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin, knows Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner because they have worked together in New York real estate circles.
Kennedy’s other son, Gregory, is a close friend of Trump’s Silicon Valley adviser Peter Thiel. They went to Stanford Law School together and Kennedy’s firm, Disruptive Technology Advisers, has worked with Thiel’s company Palantir Technologies. Gregory Kennedy also has been a NASA senior financial adviser.
Not so coincidentally, both of Justice Kennedy’s sons were at the White House last month for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Also, Ivanka Trump has attended oral arguments of the Supreme Court as a guest of Justice Kennedy.
But even more alarming is information reported at Medium.com which shows extensive financial relationships between the Trumps (including Jared Kushner) and the Kennedy family.
Like all financial dealings, the details can be quite complex, but in summary, Justin Kennedy has lent substantial amounts of money to Jared Kushner and bailed him out of a troubled real estate deal.
According to Medium:
“Who came to Kushner’s rescue? None other than LNR Property, the company whose CEO was Justin Kennedy.”
“According to the New York Times, Mr. Kushner and LNR “reached a possible agreement with LNR Property, a firm specializing in restructuring troubled debt and which oversees the mortgage, that would allow him to retain control of the tower by modifying the terms of the $1.2 billion mortgage tied to the office portion of the building.”
So let’s go back to the original conversation where Justice Kennedy said that the President’s ‘kids have been very nice’ to his son. What does that mean? How nice have they been? What did the Trumps do for Kennedy? Was anything more promised?
As the Medium article said:
“Obviously there is some kind of friendly relationship. Questions abound. We know what the Justice’s son may have done for Mr. Kushner, but what did the President’s children do for Justin Kennedy? How have they been nice to him? Evidently Justice Kennedy knows, and this may have had an impact on his opinion of the Trumps in general and the President in particular. This is perhaps a significant cause of concern.”
Since Justice Kennedy’s retirement may set the course on a conservative path for decades it is reasonable for the American public to receive answers to all of these questions, and hopefully they will come out during the confirmation process for whoever Trump chooses as his replacement for Kennedy on the Supreme Court.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.