Bush vs. Kerry and the Supreme Court

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On the Supreme Court issue, even moderates should prefer Bush to Kerry. So says Doc Ock, anyway. History shows that Republicans have more recently tended to appoint hardcore conservatives (Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas), true moderates (O'Connor, Kennedy), and hardcore liberals (Souter, Stevens) to the Court, while President Clinton was able to get exactly the hardcore liberals he wanted (Ginsburg, Breyer) through on the first try. So Bush is likely, if history is any guide, to lead to a more balanced court than Kerry would, assuming any justices die or retire during the next presidential term. Given that it's already a left-leaning group, the call for balance leads to erring on the conservative side anyway.

I'd prefer myself to see Stevens replaced by someone like Scalia, and then I'd be happy, whereas balance would be something like replacing Stevens with someone like Kennedy. So I can't say balance is what I really want, but I see balance as better than what we now have or what would happen if Kerry got to appoint anyone.

3 Comments

So I have a convert?

You don't think we have balance right now? With the number of 5-4 splits in the past few years? You can't get much more balanced than that with an odd number of judges.

OK. I would like more moderates on the court. (a 2-5-2 spread of conservatives-moderates-liberals would be great.) But even as it is, with 3 hardcore Right, and 4 hardcore Left, the Court still seems to split 5-4 all the time, and not consistenly on one side or the other. From a verdict point of view at least, it seems pretty balanced, even if not perfectly balanced from a composition point of view.

We're closer to balance than it could be. 3-2-4 isn't as balanced as it could be. Those seeking balance would prefer 3-3-3 to 3-2-4. So a move in the conservative direction would balance the court. As I said, balance would make me happier than I am, but a conservative majority would very much please me. It's not balance that I'd most appreciate, though it's helpful to have enough dissent that conservatives can't just do whatever they feel like doing. That's why I think 4-2-3 is my preferred makeup.

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