Of Course The White House Maneuvered To Encourage Justice Kennedy To Retire Early

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It’s a small, small world. Would you be surprised to learn that the Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son Justin Kennedy just happened to be the one who headed the lucrative real estate division of Deutsche Bank that ended up lending over a billion dollars to Donald J. Trump before he became the 45th president of the USA?

Is it possible that Justice Anthony Kennedy would have been forced to recuse himself from any decisions related to the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe?

Wait until you hear the rest of the story… 

As per a 6/29/18 TPM report by Josh Marshall, “The younger Mr. (Justin) Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.”

“As The Financial Times put it last year, in the middle 1990s, Deutsche was looking for a foothold in the US and “the bank saw a niche in serving rich developers who had hit a few bumps along the way, such as Harry Macklowe and Ian Bruce Eichner, both celebrated owners and losers of New York real estate.” Donald Trump fit the bill to a tee.”

?, Bettina Zilkha==ULLA & KEVIN PARKER Hosts a James Bond Themed Cocktail Party==Private Residence, NYC==October 23, 2009==©Patrick McMullan==Photo- PATRICK MCMULLAN/PatrickMcMullan.com====
JUSTIN KENNEDY/ Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

“Deutsche also had its own problems with money laundering, particularly money laundering tied to Russia. Days after Trump became President, New York State announced a $425 million fine Deutsche Bank had agreed to pay over a $10 billion Russian money laundering scheme, one of many investigations the bank is still embroiled in.”

“When I first read the Times story I wasn’t sure whether the younger Kennedy, whose title was Managing Director and Global Head of Real Estate Capital Markets, would have been someone to actually make loans to someone like Trump as opposed to overseeing more complex or synthetic efforts like mortgage backed securities and such. But it turns out he definitely was. The FT says Kennedy was “one of Mr Trump’s most trusted associates over a 12-year spell at Deutsche.” A review of Kennedy’s bio suggests those twelve years were 1997 through 2009 – key years for Trump.”

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On June 29, 2018, Grace Panetta of Business Insider penned the following report, “Trump’s business career is more connected to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy than we ever knew”

Excerpts:

  • Deutsche Bank loaned President Donald Trump over $1 billion for his real-estate projects while Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s son Justin Kennedy) led a real-estate division there (that directly loaned to President Trump), The New York Times reported Thursday.
  • Justin Kennedy was the global head of the real-estate capital markets division of Deutsche Bank, which loaned to Trump when other banks wouldn’t.
  • Anthony Kennedy’s retirement next month will give Trump an opportunity to shift the balance of the Supreme Court to the right.
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JUSTICE KENNEDY

“The Times article describes an unusually close relationship between Anthony Kennedy and Trump and a “quiet campaign” from the White House to encourage Kennedy to retire. Trump has praised Kennedy and his work, though it has included decisions on hot-button issues such as abortion, marriage equality, and the death penalty that many conservatives disagreed with.”

“After nominating Neil Gorsuch to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in January 2017, Trump appointed three judges who had previously clerked for Kennedy to federal appeals courts, and he included another two on the shortlist to fill any subsequent vacancies on the Supreme Court, The Times reported.”

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Neil M. Gorsuch, left, outside the Supreme Court with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, center, and his 1993-94 law clerks: from left, Nathan Forrester, Brett M. Kavanaugh, Miles Ehrlich and Gary Feinerman.

Kennedy’s retirement announcement on Wednesday sent shockwaves through Washington and constituted a victory for Trump, who will choose Kennedy’s replacement, pending confirmation from the Republican-controlled Senate.

By nominating a solidly conservative justice to replace Kennedy, who was known as a “swing vote” and a decider in many key cases, Trump and the Senate can swing the ideological balance of the court to the right, a move that is likely to satisfy his base ahead of crucial midterm elections this year.

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TRUMP/KENNEDY/ GORSUCH

The son (Justin Kennedy) of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was leading a real-estate division of Deutsche Bank as it gave President Donald Trump over $1 billion in loans to finance his real-estate projects when other banks wouldn’t, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Justin Kennedy, the former global head of Deutsche Bank’s real-estate capital markets division, was one of Trump’s close business associates, The Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

After Trump’s first address to Congress, in February 2017, he reportedly stopped to chat with Anthony Kennedy, saying: “Say hello to your boy. Special guy (Justin Kennedy).”

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JUSTICE KENNEDY

Here is some additional background material, as per 6/28/18 New York Times by Adam Liptak and Maggie Haberman, “when Justice Gorsuch took the judicial oath in April 2017 at a Rose Garden ceremony, Justice Kennedy administered it — after Mr. Trump first praised the older justice as “a g”reat man of outstanding accomplishment.”

“Throughout his nearly 30 years on the Supreme Court,” Mr. Trump said, “Justice Kennedy has been praised by all for his dedicated and dignified service.”

“That was an overstatement. Justice Kennedy is reviled by many of Mr. Trump’s supporters for voting to uphold access to abortion, limit the death penalty and expand gay rights. Conservatives have called for his impeachment. James C. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, once called Justice Kennedy “the most dangerous man in America.”

“Mr. Trump himself said he wanted to appoint justices who would overrule Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. Justice Kennedy has voted to reaffirm Roe’s core holding. And Mr. Trump has not hesitated to criticize far more conservative members of the Supreme Court, notably Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.”

“There is reason to think, then, that Mr. Trump’s praise of Justice Kennedy was strategic.”

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TRUMP/ GORSUCH/ KENNEDY

“Then, after Justice Gorsuch’s nomination was announced, a White House official singled out two candidates for the next Supreme Court vacancy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Judge Raymond M. Kethledge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati.”

“The two judges had something in common: They had both clerked for Justice Kennedy.”

“In the meantime, as the White House turned to stocking the lower courts, it did not overlook Justice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nominated three of them to federal appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scudder, both of whom have been confirmed, and Eric Murphy, the Ohio solicitor general, whom Mr. Trump nominated to the Sixth Circuit this month.”

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“One person who knows both men remarked on the affinity between Mr. Trump and Justice Kennedy, which is not obvious at first glance. Justice Kennedy is bookish and abstract, while Mr. Trump is earthy and direct.”

“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”

Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.

During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.

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About a week before the presidential address, Ivanka Trump had paid a visit to the Supreme Court as a guest of Justice Kennedy. The two had met at a lunch after the inauguration, and Ms. Trump brought along her daughter, Arabella Kushner. Occupying seats reserved for special guests, they saw the justices announce several decisions and hear an oral argument.

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“Ms. Trump tweeted about the visit and posted a photo. “Arabella & me at the Supreme Court today,” she wrote. “

“If the overtures to Justice Kennedy from the White House were subtle, the warnings from its allies were blunt. Last month, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, went on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program to issue an urgent plea.”

“My message to any one of the nine Supreme Court justices,” he said, was, “‘If you’re thinking about quitting this year, do it yesterday.’”

Mr. Grassley said speed was of the essence in light of the midterm elections in November. “If we have a Democrat Senate,” he said, “you’re never going to get the kind of people that are strict constructionists.”
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“Intermediaries pressed the point with Justice Kennedy privately, telling him that Donald F. McGahn II, Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, would in all probability leave after the midterms. Mr. McGahn has been a key architect of Mr. Trump’s successful efforts to appoint wave after wave of conservative judges, they said.”

“There is nothing particularly unusual in urging older justices to retire for partisan reasons.”

“Justice Kennedy visited the White House on Wednesday to tell Mr. Trump of his retirement and to deliver a letter setting out the details.”

7 comments

    • Dear Nan,

      It is definitely a small world. Here President Trump went out of his way to help all of Judge Kennedy’s clerks. I wonder if the president thought he had a Supreme Court justice in his pocket.

      Hugs, Gronda

    • Dear Holly,

      President Trump was doing his best to have a Supreme Court Justice in his pocket, one way or another. Neil Gorsuch was a former clerk for Justice Kennedy.

      The democrats in the US Congress had better not just go through the motions to fight this one. They had better take this one seriously.

      Hugs, Gronda

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