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SCOTUS future hinges on next president
Posted By Mychal Massie On 02/17/2014 @ 7:47 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments
Those who love America are justifiably concerned about what Obama is doing to our country and what he will do if his blatant disregard for the Constitution and the “separation of powers” is permitted to continue unchecked.
But forward-thinking conservatives are keenly aware that we must be concerned about the future as well, and not just because of Obama. Based on age alone, one of the primary areas of concern is that the person elected president in 2016 will potentially have at least four Supreme Court justices to replace. Two of the potential four are liberals, so a Democrat president would simply be replacing liberals with liberals, ergo, it would be a wash. But of the other two, the one is a solid constructionist, and the other is a swing vote who has, in recent years, ruled based on constructionism enough times that we should be concerned if a Democratic president replaces him.
Four of the SCOTUS justices are over 75 years of age. Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer will turn 76 this August. Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is (at the penning of this column) literally days away from her 81st birthday. Anthony Kennedy, who is always a critical swing vote, will turn 78 this July. Antonin Scalia is also just days away from turning 78 years of age.
And while I would certainly agree with the argument that the 60s are the new 40s (well, late 40s anyway), the fact that strict constructionists Justice Samuel Alito Jr. turns 64 in April and Justice Clarence Thomas turns 66 in June should elicit at least tangential concern.
We like to think that there’s no need to worry about good guys dying early, but the ugly truth about death is it can happen in the blink of an eye. But, I digress.
As you can see, the potential for the political complexion of the high court to be changed for decades to come should be of critical concern if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2016. But, it is myopic betise on an epic level to believe even for an instant that we need not be concerned if a Republican wins – especially if it is an establishment Republican.
Even when we were actually able to trust Republican presidents to be conservatives, their best judicial judgment more often than we care to think came up lacking. Republican President Eisenhower lamented, “I made two mistakes, and both of them are sitting on the Supreme Court.” He was referring to Earl Warren and William Brennan Jr.
Dr. Thomas Sowell wrote in 2007, “It is understandable that liberal [Democratic] presidents, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt, loaded the Supreme Court with liberal, [Democratic] justices. … What is far harder to understand is how a whole succession of conservative Republican presidents – Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush 41 – managed to appoint so many liberals to the Supreme Court.” (“High Court and Low Politics: Part II,” Creators Syndicate)
And while I argue it is a giant leap on any quantifiable level to consider Gerald Ford a conservative, President Reagan’s conservative bona fides are unimpeachable, and yet he nominated Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (the quota queen who was so far to the left that she could straddle the Pacific with one foot standing on California) to the high court – even after he was warned she was a grave mistake as a nominee.
President Nixon’s fourth-rate stupidity pursuant to the Watergate break-in does nothing to diminish his conservative bona fides, even if his race-based affirmative action legislation should. But as Dr. Sowell also points out: “President Nixon appointed Harry Blackmun, who created a ‘constitutional right’ to an abortion out of thin air, just as previous liberal justices had created all sorts of constitutional rights out of thin air for criminals, vagrants, and others.”
With Karl Rove and Reince Priebus pulling the strings of the GOP and RNC, the Republican Party resembles a RINO theme park more than it does the party true conservatives have supported.
With them controlling things from behind the curtain it is not just critical that the next president be “conservative,” but he/she must be a legitimate conservative whose conservative bona fides are unimpeachable. It does conservatism no good to elect a Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Jeb Bush type. The 2016 election will place in office a person with the potential to change the face of SCOTUS for many decades to come. And as John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell et al. have showed us – it’s not just Democrats who are betraying us.
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