The Slatest

How Fox News Reacted to Anthony Kennedy’s Retirement

Conservatives could hardly contain their glee in dissecting the news Wednesday that Justice Anthony Kennedy would retire from the Supreme Court.

Fox News’s analysis was mostly similar to what you heard on CNN or MSNBC, the major difference being that the anchors and pundits seemed much happier discussing it.

Host Dana Perino, reporting on why liberal commentators are worried about a Trump appointee replacing the court’s longtime swing vote, said, “The court would be more likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, restrict affirmative action, roll back anti-discrimination law, and protect the death penalty and solitary confinement just to name a few. So, on the left, that’s what they’re concerned about.” Her guest, Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro, replied, “I don’t think that’s completely inaccurate” before going on to express his delight that Roe v. Wade may soon meet its demise. He also encouraged Trump to pick a staunch constitutional originalist. “It’s an astonishing, astonishing change,” he said.

Though Kennedy didn’t always jibe with the network’s brand of conservatism, especially in his rulings on certain LGBTQ rights and abortion cases, Fox’s hosts nevertheless gave wistful assessments of the justice’s tenure. Shep Smith said, “It seems a universal truth now that Justice Kennedy was never out to please or displease anyone.”

Other conservative news outlets were similarly stoked. The National Review gushed about Trump’s “excellent list of candidates to fill the vacancy,” and The Federalist indicated that it was “an opportune time for Kennedy to depart.” The Daily Caller referred to Kennedy’s move as “the biggest gift of [Trump’s] presidency” and ran a piece entitled “Liberals Meltdown Over Justice Kennedy Retirement.” Red State also got in a dig at Democrats, who are already formulating strategies to resist whomever the president chooses:

But the fact is that the Democrats are 100% irrelevant to the upcoming vote. Not only are there no holds or filibusters for Supreme Court nominations, at least two Democrats–Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp–will vote to confirm simply because they are facing very, very tough re-election campaigns in states President Trump carried by 41 and 36 points, respectively. Chuck Schumer knows this and right now he’s playing to the cheap seats and low IQs in his party by trying to compare Kennedy’s nomination to that of Merrick Garland.

Notable figures in Trumpland also tuned in to Twitter to offer their takes on the announcement. Donald Trump Jr. referred to the retirement as “lit,” presumably because his father will have an opportunity to shape the court, and not because he dislikes Kennedy.

Former deputy assistant to the president Seb Gorka seemed pleased as well:

Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer disclosed that he was indulging in a bit of schadenfreude by listening to a recording of DNC staffers wailing upon hearing the news.