Monday, May 12, 2008

Activist Judges

Republicans, especially the religious right, love to complain about activist judges. The right has somehow conflated abortion and activism, and various other issues, and have created a bogeyman that they use to motivate their voters and to beat up the Democrats. Ask anyone "Which party appoints liberal (or activist) judges" and of course you'll hear that it's the Democrats.

This isn't borne out in reality. This chart on Wikipedia takes some studying to figure out, but once you do it's pretty revealing. Here are the facts.

Of the current 9 Justices on the Supreme Court, 7 have been appointed by Republicans. Bill Clinton appointed 2, Jimmy Carter 0. In 1968 4 were appointed by Republicans, 5 by Dems. By 1972 however, 6 were appointed by GOPers and 3 by Dems, and since 1976, 7 or 8 of the justices sitting were appointed by Republicans.

For over 30 years Dems have appointed only 1 or 2 of the sitting justices. The hew and cry about Democrats appointing liberal judges is just a smokescreen, a way to scare uninformed conservatives into voting Republican.

1 comment:

Clayton said...

I don't know any educated ocnservative who thinks the problem is only Democratic appointees. Sandra Day O'Connor, for one, has long been on the list of judges that conservatives least like, and they all know who appointed here. Ditto for Stevens.