03 Jul 2012

Why Do Republican Supreme Court Appointments So Often Turn Out To Be Mistakes?

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Marc A. Thiessen discusses the differences in result between democrat and Republican Supreme Court appointments and speculates on just why Republican appointments produce such ideologically unreliable results.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s decision to side with the court’s liberal bloc and uphold Obamacare raises an important question for conservatives: Why are Republicans so awful at picking Supreme Court justices? Democrats have been virtually flawless in appointing reliable liberals to the court. Yet Republicans, more often than not, appoint justices who vote with the other side on critical decisions.

Just compare the records over the last three decades. Democrats have appointed four justices — Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. All have been consistent liberals on the bench. Republicans, by contrast, have picked seven justices. Of Ronald Reagan’s three appointees (Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy) only Scalia has been a consistent conservative. George H.W. Bush appointed one solid conservative (Clarence Thomas) and one disastrous liberal (David Souter). With George W. Bush’s appointments of Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Roberts, conservatives thought finally they had broken the mold and put two rock-ribbed conservatives on the bench — until last week, that is, when Roberts broke with the conservatives and cast the deciding vote to uphold the largest expansion of federal power in decades.

So Democrats are four-for-four — a perfect record. Republicans are not even batting .500.

Read the whole thing.

2 Feedbacks on "Why Do Republican Supreme Court Appointments So Often Turn Out To Be Mistakes?"


If conservatives controlled the Washington Post, the rest of the mainstream media and the invite list for Washington dinner parties, then you would be reading about why liberal appointees become turncoats.

A week ago Justice Roberts was one of the Nerds. Now he’s being invited to have lunch at the Cool Kids table. Justice Roberts probably imagines being eulogized for having the courage to abandon that rigid Constitution for the good of the country. I imagine a different one involving 30 pieces of silver.


Women scream or stomp their feet.. I clean my guns..


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