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Old January 23, 2013, 01:29 PM   #1
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political parties and judges

Since the political parties seem to be aligned with the conservative and liberal beliefs of judges these days, does that undermine our checks and balances in the government?
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Old January 23, 2013, 01:39 PM   #2
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Our judges have always held political views. As long as the legislature cannot interfere with the judges, they're still more or less immune from their oversight. I suppose it's theoretically possible for one party to control both houses, as well as the Executive branch, impeach all 9 justices, and pack the court, but that would be political suicide on SO many levels. The other party and the independents would scream bloody murder during the next election cycle. And neither party really wants to open the can of worms that precedent would set when the OTHER party has control of all three apparatus.

Truth be told, while I appreciate the court as currently constituted, a 3-3-3 breakdown maintained forever would tickle me pink... give me three liberal judges, 3 conservative, and 3 independent swing judges.
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Old January 23, 2013, 02:34 PM   #3
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Although I think JimDandy has pretty much addressed the original question, the OP might be surprised to realize that the generalized appointment of justices with prior judicial and/or constitutional law experience is actually a fairly recent phenomenon. Many past SCOTUS justices, including many notable ones, were current or former legislators, state governors, prominent attorneys in fields largely unrelated to constitutional law, or advisers to the President who appointed them.

In the past, it was a basic and common presumption that a SCOTUS appointee was probably a political lackey to the President who appointed him*, albeit generally a well-educated and very intelligent lackey. However, Congress generally deferred to the President on SCOTUS appointments, as it was presumed that the President was entitled to appoint anyone he chose, so long as that person didn't possess any glaring personality traits or history that would obviously disqualify him from the job.

IOW with many past SCOTUS appointments, there was no question as to whether or to what degree the nominee was biased, because everyone who understood the process knew that ALL the nominees were ALWAYS biased! Yet... the SCOTUS continued to function and serve as a check and balance.

The difference is that the courts in the post-WWII era have generally taken a much more active role in overturning questionable legislation and policies. IMHO this has generally been a Good Thing for the average America citizen- particularly those with a darker skin tone- but it has created a good deal of controversy and increased Congressional oversight of the appointment process.

*I use "him" because there weren't any female SCOTUS justices in the time period I'm discussing.
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Old January 23, 2013, 03:28 PM   #4
Dr Big Bird PhD
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To be frank I demand nothing short of 100% of all judges to be classical liberals as reflected by the original founding fathers.
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Old January 23, 2013, 03:34 PM   #5
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From what I can see, Rehnquist was never a judge before he was appointed as Nixon's Assistant Attorney General. Well post WWII even.
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Old January 24, 2013, 02:57 PM   #6
Glenn E. Meyer
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The research on SCOTUS decisions is that for the most part, they vote their politics and then use past precedents selectively to justify their politics.

Both sides.
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Old January 25, 2013, 05:01 AM   #7
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Thanks for the answers
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