National Politics Supreme Court

The Supremes….and Buyers’ Remorse


Someone might have done well to have reminded Arlen Specter a year or two ago that certain items have a no return policy
—like, say, the Supreme Court. You buy ’em. You keep ’em.

Or more precisely, we keep ’em.

And largely because of you, Arlen dear, we’re stuck with Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

The issue that worries Specter is whether Roberts and Alito were truthful during their Senate confirmation hearings that Specter chaired. (He’s the ranking Republican member on the Senate Judiciary committee.) To be specific, Specter wants to go back through SCOTUS decisions to review whether the men have followed through with their respective claimed commitments to stare decisis. This is the legal doctrine that translates as “to stand by things decided”—in other words, except in extreme cases, one should honor legal precedent to avoid having the law whipsawed every time the court composition changes its political slant.

(Plessy v. Ferguson would be a swell example of an extreme case.)

During the hearings, both men claimed to believe in the doctrine
, and evidently Specter bought it. Now it seems that Arlen Specter is beginning to get the feeling that Roberts and Alito were….you know….lying.

According to Politico’s Carrie Budoff, “the idea for a review came to Specter when he said he ran into Justice Stephen G. Breyer at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.” Breyer told Specter that the justices were kicking stare decisis in the teeth—or words to that effect.

“I only noticed it in a couple of cases,” Specter said of the court
overturning or undermining precedents. But Breyer, in their Aspen conversation, said “there were eight.”

PS: This week, Specter’s mistrust politicians’ veracity in general seems to be on a roll, as evidenced by the way, yesterday, he stared Alberto Gonzales in the face and told him, “I do not find your testimony credible, candidly.”

Go, Arlen. Better late than never, I guess.


  • Stopping FORCED Busing

    In “Seattle & Louisville”, the court ruled that the state could not use race to determine which school you are assigned and then use FORCED BUSING to get their desired integration level.

    Examples of children living across the street from their school being FORCED to attend a school across town just caused the wealthy to either move away or put their children in private schools. FORCED busing was imposed in Pasadena in 1970, now there are 64 private schools in Pasadena and the number of white kids in public schools as dropped to 16%.

    Do we really want to let school districts use RACE to determine where our children go to school but forbid anyone from using RACE to determine anything else?

  • Every one of the liberal justices lied when they took their oaths.

    I’ll take Roberts and Alito over a former ACLU attorney who uses foreign laws to form opinions.

    Were you worried about Anita Hill lying?

  • Celeste: “And largely because of you, Arlen dear, we’re stuck with Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito.”

    Celeste, you say that like their nomination was a bad thing. 😉

    Actually, what worries me far more than any single justice is the current Democrat plan to “Stack The Court” Didn’t FDR try that once before (and before anyone gets in a high dudgeon, that was a rhetorical question). Stacking the court STRICTLY and ONLY to inforce a particular point of view is dispicable. And, when you come down to it, I suspect that there are a lot of folk who voted for some of the more liberal members of the court who wish they could take their vote back, too.

  • GM the Bush administration stacked the court, and now the dems, who can’t seem to do anything but try to consolidate power, are talking about the same thing.

    I wish we could just hose out the White House, congress and start over. (There are a few people I’d rescue, post-hosing.)

  • Celeste, you are a reporter so I suspect that you have a high regard for “the truth.” The fact of the matter is that Bush has only nominated appointees to the USSC when a vacancy occurs. That is NOT what stacking the supreme court means and you know that. Further, Bush has appointed people that he is comfortable with in terms of their judicial philosophy. Name ONE SINGLE PRESIDENT that deliberately appointed a nominee to the USSC who the Prez knew ahead of time that the proposed justices judicial philosophy was NOT in agreement with his own.

    Stacking the Supreme court has specific historical meaning, specifically increasing the number of justices so that a particular point of view is minoritized in a way that the founders did not anticipate. There are currently 9 Justices. Not 11, not 13, not 15, not 101. NINE. Adding more is stacking. Appointing nominees when there is a vacancy is NOT stacking, it’s politics and the constitutional responsibility of the President just as confirmation and voting is the Constitutional responsibility of the Senate. Celeste, you are welcome to your point of view, but not your choice of facts. Bush has not stacked the USSC, the Dems are attempting to do so if they win substantial majorities in the next election.

  • I might also mention that Bush has appointed two, Clinton two, Bush Pere two, reagan two and Ford one. How is that stacking… conversly, if Bush stacked, didn’t clinton also stack?

  • Celeste, you’re not stupid. Don’t use inflamatory words on situations in which they don’t apply, just because you disagree with the situation. Yellow journalism needs to go out of style.

  • “Clinton wanted to nominate women who were stacked, after he got a close feel and learned their favorite positions.”

    My favorite comment of the day. Since I’m on deadline elsewhere, I’ll simply leave the issue there, lest my editor hunt me down and kill me.

  • This article is timely.

    Link: Stacking the Court

    If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two.

    Now, that is stacking the Court, and it is proposed by a Democrat and liberal. Popular values, indeed.

  • Pokey complains thjaat the use of Race to determine school enrollments is a distorting factor. I wonder if he felt that way when, prior to BROWN v. BOARD and the enabling decisions that followed black children were routinly bussed long distances to all “Colored” schoo,s so as to avoid their presence “Contaminating” nearer all-white schools.

    Since seven of the nine justices on SCOTUS have been appointed by Republicans and since most are Federalist Society Hacks with little or no real world political or legal experience I’d say thaat “Stacked” is a fair comment. All one needs to do is compare the Court that decided BROWN. Say what you will but that wa a Court of Giants whose experience in the world have made them the stuff of Law School texts – something that the current pygmies need never worry about.

    But I don’t blame the righties. For a generation – thanks to FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ, and – yes – Ike – we had a moderate to liberal bench that was open to expanding rights. And so libs became lazy and choose to eschew the hard work of political organizing for the relatively easy task of filing lawsuits bfore sympathetic judges. This was not the way the courts had been for most of our history. See the contortions of Frankfurter and Brandeis to find ways to craft child labor work-hour laws that would pass muster in fron of courts determined to strike down all such laws as viotations of “Contract”. This is another legacy of the oh so pure Left and its infatuation with the likes of aa Ralph Nader who will now complain bitterly that the courthouse door is closed to him but offer no apology for making that possible in 2000. (anyone want to guess what two GORE Appointments would look like? OPr the important circuit court judges like those on the DC Circuit where most law is actuall made?)

    Finally, I’ll ignore the typically ignorant and snide remarks of the sage from Georgia except to note that his continuing attacks on the 42nd President (stolen as they are from the oxycontin induced dreams of Rush Limbaugh who satisfies his own sexual desires by taking viagra-induced “Sex tourist” trips to the Dominican Republic) to note that Mr Clinton left office more popular than Ronald Reagan and is now tied with Jimmy Carter as the most popular ex-president while the current occupant of the White House now finds himself mired at around 25%.

    Lincoln was right.

  • Good link, Woody. It’ll never happen, but it was definitely a provocative Op Ed that got everybody on both side of the blue/red divide talking.

    If I’d been smarter and more awake I’d have linked to it myself in the post. But the cat wouldn’t allow it. (Mu-u-u-ust do the cat’s bidding.

  • Hey, Welcome back Richard!

    Does this mean you’re feeling a bit better?

    (Excellent post, by the way. I was in sore need of a progressive rescue)

    Admit it, Pokey, Woody, and GM—you’ve truly missed RLC while he was under the weather. What’s life without a good sparring partner????

  • Day to day but – as the old Beatle song put it – getting better all the time.

  • Hang in there, RLoC. Rehab’s the hardest part. Happy to see you here!

  • “Admit it, Pokey, Woody, and GM”

    Yes, we glad to hear you are doing better and are back.

    Richard, I think we can all agree that forced segregation (Brown V. Board) should not be allowed and Brown was a proper decision. But times have changed and there is no forced segregation, now we have forced “racial diversity”, which is what the court ruled against and what the minority would like to continue.

    Crystal Meredith, parent of Joshua, joins the complaint as her son (age five) was denied admission to Bloom Elementary School based on racial quotas even though there was room at the school. Meredith had just moved to Louisville in August 2002 and her neighborhood school (Breckenridge Franklin) could not admit her son, as it was a year round school. Joshua is sent to Whitney Young, over a 45 minute bus ride away. She is denied transferred to Bloom, another nearby school. This opens the case to include all the schools in the system with Meredith as the example of all the students in the school system. The other two sets of parents ready to join the suit were an African American mother with twin sons and a Native American parent.

  • RLC, I for one am absolutely DELIGHTED that you are back. As one who also had to suffer a debilitating illness, I know how hard the struggle can be. Besides, you are one of the more intelligent intellectual foes we conservatives have. Even if you are wrong most of the time 😉

    Now, as to your argument, until Roberts and Alito joined the court, the court was reliably fairly liberal regardless of who appointed them (and only two of the nine appointed by a Democrat). That was, in part, my point to Celeste that no president knowingly appoints someone who does not share their judicial views. But it sometimes happens. Lets say that a year from now, just prior to another Republican being elected president (Say Thompson for arguments sake) Alito turns quite liberal for some unknown reason and Ginsburg turns conservative or better yet, radical libertarian. Would you make the same argument? I didn’t think you would even if my example is rather ludicrous. So, the issue is not the appointer here, the issue is the flavor of the justice him/herself. That can never be predicted (nor should it) and for the Democrats to want to (a la FDR) stack the court by adding two more justices in hopes of bringing a more “liberal” flavor is just plain ole wrong and partisan. Something that should not be part of selecting judges with life tenure. Grill ’em hard, then vote up or down on all federal life time judges, no matter who appoints them. But no more partisan games, Dem or Republican.

  • Welcome back, rlc.

    Look at this load of ****.

    LINK: Schumer to fight new Bush high court picks

    New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush “except in extraordinary circumstances.”

    The Republicans approved nut-case liberal judges simply based upon whether or not they were qualified. The Democrats are the ones who put ideology above judicial competence. For that and for the current Democrats’ delay, they should be ashamed.

  • Thanks for the compliment GM but I must demurr on the point that my views are wrong. I’ve always considered my thoughts right up there with Papal Infallability when it comes to the veracity meter.

    Naturally, I was not referring to FDR’s “Court Packing” plan when I wrote of “Stacking” the Court. You are right that Presidents pick judges based on their beliefs but that has become far more prevalent since Nixon made the Court an issue in 1968. Prior to that there was a broad consensus as to what made a person qualified for SCOTUS. And the Senate was far more active in “Advising” too. In 1930 the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee told President Hoover that there would be smooth sailing for an appointment of Cardoza but others would have trouble – Hoover got the message. And over the years fully one third of the nominations were turned down.

    Partisanship entered in very little until Nixon. FDR appointed Harlan Fisk Stone – a Republican – Chief Justice. And look at the people appointed by Truman, Ike, and LBJ. Not just law professors or lower court judges with “Conservative” credentials. But former Governors, Senators, agency heads, and great practicing lawyers with national reps. These guys, right or left, were heavyweights.And the professors and judges were of the stature of Frankfurter and Harlan. So you had a high court that was distinguished not only in ability but in being steeped in real world problems that politicians have to deal with. None of that is present on the current court so I think “Stacked” is appropriate to describe this crowd. They are essentially right-wing ideologues who predecide results and fashion arguments to reach that result.

  • RLC: “…right-wing idealogues who predecide results and fashion arguments to reach that result.”

    Hmmm, guess the same then could be said for Clinton’s appointees; “..essentially LEFT-wing idealogues who predecide results and fashion arguments to reach that result.”

    Of the 9, Stevens, Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer are reliably liberal. O’Conner was a swing voter much of the time, Kennedy usually votes conservative, but votes liberal on many of the votes you would “think” he would’ve voted the other way (and sometimes vice versa). Alito and Roberts haven’t been there really long enough to track with any degree of reliability, though there is no doubt in my mind that they will be reliably conservative along with Thomas and Scalia. Now we have Schumer (?) saying not to process any Bush nominee for the USSC except in “dire” emergency… ha, talk about overarching idealogues.

  • I’d love to proof of that statement as Breyer and Ginsberg have shown remarkable range as have STevens and Souter. But a big test is coming. Let’s see how Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Thomas vote on “Executive Privilege” this time around as opposed to the Clinton Years. Any bets?

  • How many Democrats were pumping their fists and saying “Please, please…” when word got out that Justice Roberts had to be rushed to the hospital today?

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