It was a week ago, June 27th, that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his intent to retire at the end of the current term. The impending vacancy requires the president to nominate a candidate to replace the retiring justice. So, over the past week a couple of things have happened:

1) President Trump released a list of 25 possible candidates which was quickly reduced to a Top 5 and then cut further to a Top 3.

2) Many leading Democrats immediately put forth the ‘suggestion’ that the president not submit any candidates to Congress prior to the mid-term elections, after which they might have more seats — and more power to thwart approval of a conservative-leaning justice.

President Trump was less than intrigued by the Democrat’s suggestion and declared his intent to announce his nominee this coming Monday evening.

There are lots of ways to explain Trump’s victory over Hillary in the 2016 presidential election. Some of the explanations are sensible and some are rather silly. However, one thing you can pretty much take as Gospel is the idea that many Americans were of a mind that the Supreme Court had been tacking toward a more Progressive stance — one that was getting out of step with Main Street, USA.

It was obvious that the incoming president would have the opportunity to appoint one or more new Supremes. Consequently, a whole slew of Independents, Moderates, Conservatives and Libertarians, many of who would probably not even agree to have lunch with Trump, decided to vote for him. Nothing personal mind you, it was just a strategy move.

So, all that got me thinking about how the Left and the Right view the court differently.

The Right is quite pre-occupied with believing that the Founders thought long and hard about what they were doing and then went on to construct a document that would and could be, as much as possible, timeless. On the other hand, many on the Left tend to think that the Constitution can, and should, be constantly adjusted to contemporary desires of interpretation. Simply put, they think that the word of ‘those old guys’ is pretty much ‘old hat’. One might then ask (I did, and that’s why I’m writing this) is the old stuff really ‘old hat’ or can Jefferson’s thoughts remain reasonable when seen through the lens of today?

You might know that Thomas Jefferson had great appreciation for fine wine. He especially loved vintage Bordeaux – even collected it. So, it is fitting that we should decant a bit of his wisdom, take a sip and see: is it still drinkable…or has it turned to vinegar?

Over the years Jefferson developed a list of axioms for personal behavior. Some seem to have been of his own invention; others derived from classical or literary sources.

Jefferson’s most extensive list is the one he sent to Cornelia Jefferson Randolph, his granddaughter. I’m sure she would not object to you reading it as well.

1. Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
2. Never trouble another with what you can do yourself.
3. Never spend your money before you have it.
4. Never buy a thing you do not want merely because it is cheap, it will never be dear to you.
5. Take care of your cents: Dollars will take care of themselves!
6. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
7. We never repent of having eat[en] too little.
8. Nothing is troublesome that one does willingly.
9. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happen.
10. Take things always by their smooth handle.
11. Think as you please, and so let others, and you will have no disputes.
12. When angry, count 10 before you speak; if very angry, 100.

I read through this list several times and tried to find something, anything, that would not be useful advice today. Sure, we might change some of the wording but the ideas seem as valid today as the day they were written. I would hope that each of us, regardless of our political stripes, would agree.

Market Minute 7/6/2018 – 4th of July Week 2018 – A Weak Week

As usual, market players were notably absent during this Holiday week. The low volume of actions in the markets tend to make any action less meaningful and moves that appear to be caused by headline noise (such as trade ‘war’ rhetoric) seem perhaps stronger than are warranted. I continue to make a bullish case for markets as the more aggressive areas of the Nasdaq* and Russell* (smallcaps) had a decent week. Next week will be more indicative of what’s actually going on. Enjoy your weekend.

Ronald P. Denk, CFP®
Investment Advisor
Denk Strategic Wealth Partners
10000 N. 31st Avenue, Suite C-262
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Phone (602) 252-8700
Fax (602) 252-8701
Toll-Free (877) The-Denk

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