Richard Painter, the former White House Ethics Attorney for President George W. Bush, has come up with a way to delay hearings for a new Supreme Court justice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. According to Painter, there should be no hearings on a replacement for Kennedy until there is a full and complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding Kennedy’s resignation.
In other words, if Kennedy was paid or bought off in some way by Trump or his family, then the American people need to know about it. After Kennedy’s unexpected retirement announcement several stories appeared in the media claiming financial ties between Kennedy and his two sons and Trump and his family. Some people speculated that Kennedy was bought off in some way due to these extensive and longstanding financial connections.
Late last week Painter tweeted his novel theory for why Senate hearings for Kennedy’s replacement should be delayed:
“The circumstances of Justice Kennedy’s resignation must be investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee before any replacement is considered. The Constitution does not give Trump the power to use underhanded means to induce Supreme Court resignations.”
The circumstances of Justice Kennedy’s resignation must be investigated by the Senate Judiciary Committee before any replacement is considered. The Constitution does not give Trump the power to use underhanded means to induce Supreme Court resignations.https://t.co/S6m5oLg9mV
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) June 30, 2018
As Painter points out it would be both unethical and unconstitutional for a president to “induce Supreme Court resignations” by using financial remuneration of some kind.
Soon after Painter’s tweet there was a response from a group he called “the right wing Power Blog” attacking him for his suggestion:
“The right wing Power Line Blog blows a fuse over this, but Sen. Jud. Comm. must investigate the circumstances of the Kennedy resignation before confirmation hearings for ANY new justice.
@GovArne agrees. Richard Painter Plumbs New Depths http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/07/richard-painter-plumbs-new-depths.php?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=sw&utm_campaign=sw … via @powerlineUS
The right wing Power Line Blog blows a fuse over this, but Sen. Jud. Comm. must investigate the circumstances of the Kennedy resignation before confirmation hearings for ANY new justice. @GovArne agrees.
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) July 1, 2018
Painter is a lifelong Republican who is now running for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota — as a Democrat. He is the subject of an in-depth article today at Salon.com which discusses in detail the transition he has gone through from being in Bush’s White House to being one of Donald Trump’s fiercest critics.
In the article Painter asks the same questions as millions of other Americans:
“Trump admires dictators and authoritarians. His loyalty to Vladimir Putin is clear and he now has a bromance with Kim Jong-un. This is a truly dire situation, but the American people still seem asleep to what is really happening. Where is the outrage? How is Trump able to get away with this?”
Then he adds:
“Donald Trump’s conduct is very dangerous for the United States.”
It’s not clear if Democrats in the U.S. Senate will agree with Painter and investigate the circumstances surrounding Kennedy’s resignation. However, if there is some connection to Russian money it is very likely that Robert Mueller already knows about it and may eventually reveal more information about it. We can only hope that it happens before a new right-wing extremist justice is appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court under shady circumstances.