This is the year of Dread at the loss of institutions and the seeming impossibility of regaining them anytime soon.

I wish I had a Dread Clock, similar to the Doomsday Clock.

If so, it would have been about three minutes to midnight. But I’ll dial it back by a couple of minutes because of the ongoing success in reclaiming the federal judiciary from the grip of liberal activism.

Part of that is the success in the pipeline and confirmation of a substantial number of appeals court judges. Those are the judges who are the last word on the vast majority of cases, since the Supreme Court hears so few cases.

Part of it is what appears to have been a wise choice in nominating Neil Gorsuch to fill the Scalia seat.

But the clock is being dialed back now because of the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Hopefully this is not premature, and Trump nominates someone so worthy for the spot that it satisfies conservatives and keeps the Susan Collins-Lisa Murkowski wing of the party, plus a potentially vindictive Jeff Flake, from defecting.

There’s a reason the left is freaking the hell out over the Kennedy retirement. The federal district and appeals courts have been the principal vehicles for achieving liberal political gains that could not be gained at the ballot box or through congressional elections. The Supreme Court, usually by a one-vote Kennedy margin (with the exception of Obamacare, where Roberts defected), also has served that role in fewer, but the most important, cases.

We are used to losing institutions. The left is not. They are waking up to the possibility that the judiciary may be restored to the neutral role it should play, and would no longer serve as a liberal super-legislature.

The reclaiming of the federal judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, is why the Dread Clock now stands at 5 minutes before midnight.

[Featured image: Me standing during Cornell ‘Take a Knee’ protest]