The #1 Reason We Need A Democratic President

1 comment May 9th, 2008at 08:28pm Posted by Eli

Judiciary, Judiciary, Judiciary.

Al Kamen provides some perspective on just how imbalanced the courts are right now, and how much worse SCOTUS could be four years from now if McCain becomes president:

The next president will find the federal bench solidly controlled by the GOP, with about 100 Republicans in appeals court seats, compared with approximately 66 Democrats. Republicans have a 56 percent majority at the trial court level.

At least for the first couple of years, [the next president] would probably find the number of Republican retirees far outnumbering Democrats. Forty-six of the 53 longest-serving appeals judges are GOP appointees. [A Democratic president] would have a golden opportunity to replace them with liberal court-abusers. McCain, at least for a chunk of his first term, would only be treading water.

(…)

But there would be a huge silver lining for President McCain. He might have the chance to solidify GOP control of the big prize, the Supreme Court, for many years to come. The senior liberal, Justice John Paul Stevens, just turned 88, although he’s still golfing and, we hear, maybe playing a little tennis.

A second liberal opening might come from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 75. McCain also might be able to replace conservative justices Antonin Scalia, 72, and Anthony Kennedy, 71, with younger Republicans. If everything worked out, McCain could create a court with a seven-member conservative majority whose oldest member would be Clarence Thomas, who turns 60 next month.

More...Every Democrat and progressive should be scared to death by this possibility.  Even if McCain were held to a single term, followed by the Democrats hammerlocking the White House and the Congress for the next 30 years, they could still be overruled at every turn by an unabashedly right-wing Supreme Court, with absolutely no recourse. Roe v. Wade: gone.  Affirmative action: gone.  Employee protections against discrimination, abuse, injury and death: gone.

Any questions on campaign finance, voting rights, or electronic voting machines would be decided in favor of the GOP.  But torture would be okay, just so long as the victims haven’t been convicted of anything.

And that’s just what IWANAL (I Who Am Not A Lawyer) can think of off the top of my head.  I’m sure I haven’t even scratched the surface of what kind of havoc an all-wingnut Supreme Court could wreak.

But if, God forbid, John McCain does become president, I have two specific requests to make of Senate Democrats that might hopefully reduce the damage a little bit:

1) Please remember that judgeships are lifetime appointments, so don’t worry about comity or deference to presidential prerogative.  If you screw up, we all have to live with it for the next 30 or 40 years.  (I feel obliged to point out that life expectancy is quite a bit longer now than it was when the Constitution was written…)

2) Place more weight on the nominee’s judicial history and less weight on their evasive-at-best-dishonest-at-worst responses to your questions.  If they’ve been a right-wing judge all their life, that’s not going to change when they get a promotion.

Yeah, we’d still have a conservative judiciary, but at least some of those judges would choose the law over ideology every once in a while.

(h/t Peterr & dakine)

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Democrats,Elections,Judiciary,McCain,Politics

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