Friday, December 12, 2008

Obamessiah Suck-Up of the Day

From Monday's Washington Post:
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"?


MaxedOutMama said...

Right of Mao = "conservative". Which is what's the matter with Kansas, according to WaPo.

Tom Carter said...

Carl, I agree that the shift won't be as dramatic as some think. The Supreme Court, in particular, may not change much, depending on how long Obama and a possible liberal successor may be in office. His first few appointments will likely do no more than maintain the present balance as he replaces aging liberals.

The circuit courts of appeal may get a bit rambunctious, like the 9th has always been, but the Supremes will probably keep them in line. District courts, though, may get downright looney, as more Obama appointees get on the bench. Might be fun to watch.

There's also the historical fact that federal judges don't always behave like they're expected to once they have that lifetime appointment. I doubt that Reagan could have predicted what would happen when he appointed Kennedy, for example.

I would really like to see a Supreme Court and lower courts that would apply the Constitution, with perhaps a nod to the passage of time here and there, and leave legislating to legislatures. Fat chance, I guess.

Carl said...

M_O_M means "rights of Man."

Tom--I agree, with one significant caveat: Few Democratic judicial appointees have turned out more conservative than expected (and no SCOTUS appointment since Byron White in 1962).

Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court decision handed down 12/12/2000, made the Supreme Court worse then worthless to any positive progress in the USA. Consider the measureable consequences of their selection of Bush to occupy our White House. Enough said.

Maybe we should use this time of multiple crises to redesign a government and judiciary that is more effective in accomplishing the positive goals WE THE PEOPLE desire to achieve.