Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One more last minute reason to vote for Obama

For all of you undeciders who needed one more reason to vote for Obama, consider the judges:

Only two judges to the Supreme Court were nominated by a Democrat (both by Clinton), the rest were Republican appointees. Despite that fact, the court is currently fairly balanced, but notably the older judges, those more likely to retire have a more liberal bent.

So, a vote for Obama basically means keeping the dynamics of the court intact for a while. Not a good thing if you don't like the dynamics of the court, I suppose, but I recently heard a most excellent point on NPR a few weeks ago. I wish I could find it on the web, but I can't, but hopefully the point stands on its own.

Basically, the commentator was describing the problems with our current polarization. How, when our views are not challenged, they tend to get more extreme. We tend to want to prove our partisanship to the group and voice stronger, more extreme views to the crowd, which encourages others to pull even further to the extreme.

This is true even with the courts. Studies have found that when a court consists of idealogically consistent group, they tend to judge cases in a more partisan manner. This is a problem. I want smart, qualified justices on the bench. But I also want justices that are forced to argue their position to other smart, qualified justices with different points of view.

Keep balance in the Supreme Court, vote Obama for president.


H said...


When it comes to judges, I don't think liberal is a good thing. As I said before, judges are appointed to uphold the law, not make the law. I would hope that all judges base their decisions on the merrits argued before them and not on their personal stances.

You mentioned the 2 Democratic judges that were appointed by the Dem. President Bill Clinton. They were both confirmed by John McCain. That sounds like bi-partisan politics to me. And if you look at one of the judges, Ruth bader Ginsberg you will see that she is quite liberal and had a consistent history of prochoice decisions. This would be something McCain is against and he voted her in anyway.

The next 2 nominees (By George W. Bush)were Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Sen. Obama was one of only 22 senators to vote against Roberts nomination and that was strictly on party lines. 78 senators confirmed the nomination! Samuel Alito was was confirmed by a very narrow margin (52-48) and this was done after a fillibuster in congress lead by 2 Mass. Democrats and supported by future hopeful presidential nominees John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, current VP candidate Joe Biden. Where was Obama?


tempe turley said...


I'm not sure why you can't believe a liberal judge can't be a good judge?

Personally, I want a variety of perspectives on the Supreme Court. I don't mind liberal judges, I don't mind conservative judges, I don't mind moderate judges, as long as they are competent. I want all views represented

Finally, I supported both Alito and Roberts because I felt they were both competent.

Here's why Obama voted against Roberts:

And here's why he voted against Alito:

But the real reason, Bush/Cheney selected Alito and Roberts are here:


Money quote:

"When Dick Cheney was vetting the last two candidates for the Court, he did not really care about their views on abortion. He concentrated on their attitude toward the many executive usurpations of the Bush administration, and he was satisfied on this account with John Roberts and with Sam Alito."

In other words, Bush/Cheney have alarmingly expanded the powers of the executive branch. They picked justices who would back them up.

H said...

I believe that liberal judges in CA are exactly the reason that Prop 8 (in CA), and Prop 102 (in AZ)are on the ballot. If it weren't for liberal judges trying to make and change laws people wouldn't have to pass laws that directly violate (in my opinion)individuals freedoms. If there were a seperation of church and state, and a seperation of judicial opinion and rulings then we might all be able to get along. We don't need an ammendment to the constitution to tell people they are wrong, that's wrong.

Seriously, "protecting marriage" only became as big as it did when the CA courts overturned the law and began performing same-sex unions.

Jeff said...

One thing that I have often wondered is the what the meaning of "legislating from the bench" means. If it means striking down current laws as written by the legislature, (ie - changing current law,) the results can be surprising. In a NY Times article from July 5, 2005 entitles, "So Who are the Activists," the authors analyzed how often the justices voted against law that the congress had written.

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

It is some of the deregulating pro-business legislating from the bench that I have had more problems with.


Anonymous said...

The fatal flaw in arguing that liberal judges subvert the rights of the people may be so obvious that many people get so wrapped in the argument that the sophistry is completely missed by the opposition. In the argument that liberal judges subvert the rights of the people, the most obvious purpose for people promoting conservative judges does not lie in that they bend to the will of the people but that they bend to the will of the conservative movement.

That aside, I read an excellent book called Politics by Other Means, by Benjamin Ginsberg and Martin Shefter. It lays an argument that power has been, in fact, taken out of the hands of the people, and into the elite's, ever since Watergate. While it's true that liberals rely on the power of judges to subvert the will of the people, so, too, have conservatives used the media to practically bring Clinton's presidency to a standstill.

I recommend this book highly. Every politico should.