The federal judiciary is on the verge of a major shift when President-elect Barack Obama's nominees take control of several of the nation's most important appellate courts, legal scholars and political activists say. With the Supreme Court's conservative direction unlikely to change anytime soon, it is the lower courts -- which dispense almost all federal justice -- where Obama can assert his greatest influence.Nonsense squared; this analysis confuses results with reasoning. And, as Ed Whelan says on National Review's Bench Memos:
It may well be that these lower-court appointments will "reshape the U.S. legal landscape" and lead to a "major shift", but the article curiously fails to mention that federal appellate judges are obligated to follow Supreme Court precedent. If Obama appointees do so in good faith, then it seems unlikely that the shift will be as dramatic as the article suggests. . .
The article posits "the Supreme Court’s conservative direction". Will the next reporter who uses a phrase like this please try to explain how a Court with Justice Kennedy as the deciding vote--the same Kennedy who wrote and/or voted as he did in cases like Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Lawrence v. Texas, Boumediene, Rasul, Hamdan, Lee v. Weisman, and various Eighth Amendment/death penalty cases--can be said to have a "conservative direction"?