Sunday, June 29, 2008

Meditations on the SCOTUS

The recent Heller decision has reignited the debate on the up-coming Presidential election, with folks citing the 5-4 split in the Court as a compelling reason to vote for McCain.

The reasoning being that the next President will be in a position to appoint one or more Justices to the Supreme Court, and a Republican candidate won't screw us over.

With that in mind, let us ponder the Supreme Court of the United States.

The current Chief Justice is John Roberts, appointed to that position by Republican George W. Bush.

Next in seniority is John Paul Stevens, appointed by Gerald Ford -- a Republican.

Antonin Scalia was appointed by Ronald Reagan, Republican.

Anthony Kennedy -- again Ronald Reagan, Republican.

David Souter, George Herbert Walker Bush, Republican.

Clarence Thomas, George Herbert Walker Bush, Republican.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed by William Jefferson Clinton, Democrat.

Stephen Breyer, appointed by William Jefferson Clinton, Democrat.

And last, but not least, Samuel Alito, appointed to that position by George W. Bush, Republican.

In addition, we have one current retired Supreme Court Justice -- Sandra Day O'Connor, a Reagan appointee.

Of the current sitting Justices of the Supreme Court, only two have been appointed by Democrats. The other seven were appointed by Republicans.

In simpler English, in the
Heller decision being cited as a vital reason to elect (Republican) McCain, well, two of the Justices who decided against freedom were Republican appointees.

Now, I realize that Obama would most probably nominate hard Left judges to fill any vacancies on the Supreme Court -- but will McCain do any better?

Will the man most often referred to as the "Maverick Senator from Arizona", who is famous for "reaching across the aisle" -- will he do any better?

Will the Senator who rammed the anti-Constitutional McCain-Feingold Act down our throats really do any better? This is the man who thought the Climate Stewardship Act was Constitutional enough to sponsor it not once, but three times; and let us not forget McCain's leadership in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 -- which showed a fine disregard for our not only our own laws, but for those voting Americans he supposedly represents.

Yes, Supreme Court Justices appointed by Barack Obama would be a disaster for our personal freedoms ... but no one has managed to show me that Supreme Court Justices appointed by John McCain -- the man who was frequently mentioned as a possible VP candidate under John Kerry in 2004 -- will be any better.

In addition, I'd like to throw out two words: "Robert Bork".

Lest we forget, those who control the Senate ("Advice and Consent of the Senate", and all that) have a great deal of say upon who actually gets to be a Supreme Court Justice (see Harriet Miers, G. Harrold Carswell, Clement Haynsworth, John J. Parker, et al.)

Supposing John "Reach Across the Aisle In The Spirit of Bi-Partisanship" McCain does actually nominate Conservative jurists to fill any Supreme Court vacancies -- if conservatives don't control the Senate, the Senate can (and will) reject any nominees who don't meet the Senate's approval.

LawDog

32 comments:

Alan said...

I was talking to an avowed Democrat yesterday who was surprised and a little disbelieving when I told her two of the current "liberal" justices were appointed by republicans.

Rorschach said...

'dog, I hear ya. Any you're right, we are basically looking at a choice between a man that will certainly appoint someone a bit to the left of Karl Marx, and someone who MIGHT appoint someone a bit to the right of 'ol Karl. I think at best we will end up with another Justice Kennedy which would at least balance him out a bit. While simultaneously removing a card carrying communist from the court. two positive fractional moves add up to a greater positive move.

armedandsafe said...

Granted, McCain might do poorly in his choices of succeeding Justices. However, Obamasiah will certainly do the very worst possible in his choices. If I am faces with a crash, do I choose the 600 foot cliff or the rocky, tree lined verge?

Pops

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm not gung-ho McCain. I don't think he'll be a good president. However, I do think he'll support the USA as such. As for Obama, the thought of him in control of the way I live gives me the urge to run shrieking for the hills. I do not want my country amalgamated with the rest of the world. I certainly don't want a president who not only is prepared to apologize to the Arabs for our 'crimes' against them but who will open our borders to them. We've had one apologetic, compromising president in Bill Clinton and we're going to be paying for that for decades. Imagine what Obama will do.
LawMom

Anonymous said...

There is no really good choice here from a conservative point of view. Both candidates need a conservative running mate to make them viable choices. McCain to bring in the right wing and Obama to get off of hard left. It's turning into a classic case of voting for the lesser of the evils. A recurring nightmare: Obama to Hillary - throw your support to me and I'll nominate you as a supreme.....

Anonymous said...

OMG! anonymous, bite your tongue!
LM

C.S.P. Schofield said...

I think the point is that, while both parties seem to be nominating Liberal Democrat candidates, McCain is a Liberal Democrat who will a) be viciously opposed by democrats because ha CALLS himself a republican and b) can tell the difference between a 4am dorm bull session meeting of the Campus Circle of Marxist Twits and the real world.

Anonymous said...

Has it never occured to anyone that perhaps, just perhaps, if even the judges appointed by the most conservative presidents of our time have voted consistantly "liberal" then maybe, just maybe, they are actually voting in what they believe to be our best interests? I mean, if you read the court opinions instead of just listening to the news, some of the positions they take make alot more sense...

However, even given that, I have come to the conclusion that, on a whole, the government has strayed to far, and that I see no hope in John McCain, *McCain* of all people, of fixing any of it. This is why I have finaly decided that come this november, I am voting for the liberitarian canadate, Bob Barr.

Rather than explain why, I'll just offer up his site and let everyone here make their own decisions, but Ihave to say, I like what I hear alot more from him than do from John Micky the constitution wrecker. http://www.bobbarr2008.com

Anonymous said...

anonymous presumes too much; the Dog bloogers are a lot more informed and intelligent than he's willing to admit. Did it ever occur to you that we DO read the SC opinions and we DON'T believe they are in our best interests nor do they make sense to us?
LM

TOTWTYTR said...

LawDog as Bill Clinton once said,
"I feel your pain".

I'm less than completely enthusiastic about McCain, but in addition to the Supreme Court Justice issue, he's bound to be better on national security than Obama.

Will he reach across the aisle? Maybe, but probably less than we think. Neither the media nor his former "friends" in the Democratic party will be kind to him in the election or after if he wins.

That might push him to the right a bit, and there is plenty of room to move.

It's a roll of the dice, but it's the best we're going to do.

be603 said...

So back in reality where we all live...

What matters is that
A)Obama will guaranteeing freeking-tee us three more Ginsbergs and he'll never give us a seat at his table.

B)McCain might give us another Kennedy type Justice but might give us a more "originalist" Justice and that he will give us a seat the table. That's what he says he do -- don't know if he will.

Which brings us back to (A), what we KNOW Obama will do.

It's the "art of the possible" people. Vote like the future of the free world depends on it -- because it does.

Larry said...

John McCain didn't like John Roberts because he "wore his conservatism on his sleeve" so you tell me, what kind of justices will he be likely to appoint?
I think an Obama presidency would be a screaming nightmare and a McCain presidency will just be a nightmare that leaves you in cold sweats. Pick your poison.
Get out and support Conservative candidates for the Senate!!!!!!!

Rorschach said...

Larry, he might not have like Roberts, but he voted to confirm him anyway.

WingNut said...

How is this even a debate? While neither candidate are the best choices for a conservative voter in regards to the Heller verdict I CAN NOT AND WILL NOT in good conscience support or vote for a presidential candidate for the United States of America who is constantly tied to and affiliated with those who are anything but American patriots. Ok sure he has denounced his church but he has yet to give a reasonable explaination as to why it took 20 some years to notice the anti-american rhetoric in the sermons, and the shocker... he only happened to notice as he is running for president. Then there is the connection with Bill Ayers the professor ranting that 9/11 was a government conspiracy. He has that right to believe that but when it comes to an american president in the event of another attack how will this play out? Is he going to bomb and invade the conservative states blaming them? Therefore my vote will go with the candidate who did serve in the US armed forces even if he isn't the ideal republican candidate.

Mike Van Pelt said...

Living here in darkest Calipornia, there's no chance whatsoever that my vote for president is going to have any meaning. The bleating sheeple of this state are going to vote overwhelmingly for Obama.

So, given that sad fact, I might have considered Barr, but the LP seems to have run off the rails in the last few years. Budnarik cured me of voting Libertarian as the "A Plague on both your parties" vote.

I want a Constitution Party. There is a party called that, but they don't seem to be quite what I'm after.

It's either that, or write-in Cthulhu. (*NOT* the *lesser* evil.)

If there were the slightest -- the *very* slightest -- chance that California might possibly go for McCain, I would ... cast the most effective vote possible against Obama. Which would, in that case, be McCain.

Larry said...

It doesn't matter that McCain voted to confirm Roberts, the point I was trying to make is that he will never nominate a justice who "wears his conservatism on his sleeve" like Roberts. At best we will get a conservative leaning centrist.

Paul-Michael Bauer said...

At best we will get a conservative leaning centrist.

Perhaps.

But at least with McCain, it's a whole lot less likely we get another pinko-commie neo-european twit on the court.

Petey said...

To anon:

The Justice's of the SCOTUS are not charged to vote for the "best interest." Their job is to read, understand, and determine compliance with the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The idea of "best interest" should be banned from their vocabulary.

The majority opinion was based on reading and understanding language and application at the time the BOR was put to paper. The dissent was based on feelings-which is exactly what they are NOT supposed to do.

One article I read was trying to say that Scalia was wrong for using several pages of the opinion to explain the application of the language used in the 2A. What he was doing was explaining the information they used to ensure the correct interpretation of the 2A as it was intended and understood at the time pen was put to paper.


As for McCain or Obamaramadingdongdiddleyhopeychangey,
with O.r.d.d.d.h.c. we KNOW what we will get. It is like playing roulette with all black and all the same number and you bet red. With McCain, at least you have a chance.

SteveC said...

So, if you have to play Russian Roulette, would you rather use a revolver or a semi-auto? I hope our children are strong because it will be a generation cleaning up this mess.

Anonymous said...

It's too much to hope for a President McCain to appoint a real conservative SCOTUS justice - at best we'll get another Anthony Kennedy, and if it's to replace Ginsberg or Stevens, that's a small net gain. (Despite his talk about "conservatives" or "originalists", McCain will NOT appoint someone who'd vote to overturn McCain-Feingold!!) On the other hand, B. Hussein Obama WILL appoint someone who makes Ginsberg look like Ann Coulter in comparison. Bad juju.

Saladman said...

Now is the time to pressure McCain and his campaign for firm commitments on judicial nominees. He's made some positive statements on that issue, but we should keep the pressure on.

I voted Libertarian in the last two presidential elections, so I'm not normally impressed by the lesser of two evils argument, but Obama with a Democrat Congress may be enough to make me vote McCain.

PawPaw said...

Heller is a bigger win than a lot of people think. Even those in dissent recognized the RKBA as an individual right. The dissent was on the method of regulation. If you count the votes for "individual", it was 9-0. That is a huge win.

The collective rights theory was revealed to be a monstrous straw man, with no backers.

This win was huge and the devil is in the details. All we need to do now is keep the pressure on.

Anonymous said...

You have absolutely NO chance for any kind of Justices -not to mention, though I will - hundreds of lower level federal judges who will have a LARGER impact on all of our rights, under Obama.

At least with a lukewarm, semi-conservative like McCain, you've got a chance. Proof? Poppy Bush gave us Clarence Thomas.

I like the idea of some chance vs. none at all...esp. when the first two off of the USSC are likely to be the odious Stevens and that old liberal baglady, Ginsburg. Replacing them with sickeningly moderate semi-Republicans will be a big improvement overall, even if they'll screw up some cases (as Stevens and Ginsburg are GUARANTEED to do, witness "Heller").

Paul W

armedandsafe said...

Bob Barr is one of the best poiticians and Constitutional thinkers to come along in many years.

That said, "A Ross Perot by any other name..."

Pops

Anonymous said...

Half a loaf is better than a week old ROTTEN loaf.

Which is what I think when I think McCain vs. Barrack HUSSEIN Obama

I really will be voting for the lesser of two evils this time and may need a bag over my head to do that!

bogie said...

Dawg, it's like this... On one side of the road, you have a ditch full of cesspool leakage. On the other, you have a Guinness-sized patch of prickly pear.

There's a critter standing in the middle of the road, and you can sorta tell that he's lookin' to do a little wrasslin' afore you throw him in the ol' hoosegow... It's gonna suck. You may be able to help determine just how much.

Now, -all- the justices may last out 4-8 years of the next president. Or maybe not. If an activist judge retires, will he be replaced by an activist? Or by someone more conservative? I like a close court - Because -some- conservatives scare me. The court is the conscience of our society.

LawDog said...

So, basically y'all're telling me that I have a choice between: getting raped and beaten by Candidate A;
or getting raped and maybe beaten by Candidate B -- and I should be damned grateful for the choice?

Anonymous said...

We're screwed!


A. Madd Mann

Rorschach said...

Lawdog, well, except for the part about being grateful, yeah, that pretty much sums it up. It is a classic Hobson's choice, chose a bad option or chose a worse option. There are no good options. At least not realistically. I'd never tell you to be happy about being presented with such a bad deal of the cards, I'm not at all happy about it either. Had I my druthers it would have been Duncan Hunter at the top of the heap, but wish in one hand and defecate in the other and see which one fills up first.

Cybrludite said...

With all due respect, Lawdog, it's a choice between being raped with a barb-wire wrapped PR-24 (All the way past the side handle) & beaten for certain, or possibly being raped (with "just" a broomhandle) and beaten. As much as I hate McCain, and I'm sure I'm on a watch list somewhere due to my rather... intemperate... comments at the time of McCain-Finegold, I can't in good conscience vote third party and toss the election to Obama. And make no mistake, even if everyone in the Republican base who hates McCain voted for Barr, it still means that Obama, not Barr, gets elected.

Anonymous said...

You get to choose between a candidate who will destroy the economy and the Constitution, and a candidate who will destroy the economy and the Constitution. Don't worry, be happy.

Another anon.

markm said...

It's the difference between playing Russian Roulette with 5 rounds in the six-shooter, and playing Russian Roulette with one round in the Glock...

The one semi-reassuring thing about the court now comes from looking at the Justices age and physical condition. The four conservatives are all young and healthy, as SC Justices go, so it's far more likely that the next to bow out or be carried out will be one of the "liberals". Stevens is the oldest Justice by several years, at 80-something. Ginsburg can't even stay awake through hearings anymore. Even if Obama picks their replacements, he can't find a credible nominee who would be much worse. And he's got to get his choices through a Senate which the Democrats captured only by stretching the definition of "Democrat" just as far as McCain stretches that of "Republican". There are judges out there who might actually be worse - the one who recently posed for a picture underneath his posters of Obama and Che Guevera, for instance - but unless the Republicans simply roll over and play dead on the issue so no one hears of it, no Democrat from a moderate state is going to want to explain to his voters why he supported someone who idolizes a mass-murdering communist terrorist.

Mainly what I'm waiting for is to see who McCain picks as his Veep. If the Veep would be a real improvement over McCain, I'll superglue my nose, vote for McCain, and hope he drops dead soon... If McCain "reaches out" to the traitorous ninny community with his Veep choice, I'm flipping a coin between the Libertarian nutcase of the year and the "Constitutionalist" would-be theocrat - because

1) voting for those like McCain just encourages them to keep ignoring everyone who cares about freedom and staying home really ensures you'll be ignored

2) Aside from the impossibility of winning, even the fruitcakes are actually a better choice than McCain backed up by a more liberal Veep. The fruitcakes couldn't do much damage in office if somehow they did get elected, but McCain or his Veep will be able to get stuff through Congress.