Some people believe, with a Democrat in the White House, even now (and even with the Republican House and Senate), the courts are a sure lock for the liberals. But that may not be true. Why? Because as any good president, Pres. Obama will appoint conservative judges too.
Supposedly, it is to keep the ideological balance in place. But with the Republicans in charge every place else, he may basically have no choice too.
It’s not so odd either. Reagan did it (he appointed Kennedy, in fact [cf. the recent gay marriage case]). Bush I did it. Clinton did it. Bush II (aka, George W.), mainly or only appointed ultra-conservatives. But he was probably the first, at least in recent memory.
And by the way, when I say “conservatives”, I don’t mean conservatives, like, say, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is (although some could make an argument she is [but this is a topic for another thread]). I literally mean ultra-conservatives. I know even the press doesn’t talk about it. But it’s true.
BTW, how many of you out there didn’t know President Obama appoints conservative judges too? I’ve known for some time. But even if you are his supporter, it does surprise you a little, I know.
I know Obama appoints conservative judges. I don’t have a cite yet. But I’m sure I heard it some place.
Also, I know for sure Clinton did. Because I once read this story about how one of his judges voted against a gay rights measure. I don’t have a cite for that (I read it quite a while ago). But I remember the article well. (Now, whether or not he appointed this conservative judge when the Congress was controlled by the Republicans is another matter.)
Anyways, what I need now is a good cite. So I guess I will try to find one.
A lot of court appointments are at the recommendation of Congressmen and as long as they are qualified and not too ideologically unacceptable, will often get appointed. I doubt Obama’s team has enough time to thoroughly vet every judge they appoint so they rely on these recommendations from Congressmen.
As the chart in your link shows, there’s not a HUGE difference in liberal decisions decided between judges appointed by different administrations. It’s significant, but if the administrations were trying hard to appoint ideologically friendly judges I’d expect to see a much greater discrepancy.
So yeah, Obama’s probably appointed some conservative judges and Republicans adminstrations have appointed some liberal judges. Remember the big brouhaha about a few of Bush’s judicial appointments being held up by the Democrats? The Democrats responded by saying that they’d approved 90% of Bush’s nominees, they just objected to a few that were radically conservative. Most of the judges GWB appointed weren’t all that conservative, and the chart shows that the ones that did get through weren’t all that remarkable.
One other caveat: political liberalism and judicial liberalism are not necessarily the same thing.
Well, I’m sure at some level Obama appoints some judges that could, in some way, be called conservative. But what really matters is SCOTUS appointments, since they are the final say about things. Now, it’s true that many “conservative” justices drifted to the liberal side over time (Souter particularly comes to mind), but that’s not quite the same as saying they were liberal at the time of being appointed. Anyway, you whole OP was so cryptic as to be almost indecipherable.
Plus, the whole conservative/liberal dichotomy is a one dimensional model of a mutl-dimmensional problem, so it should be no surprise that it’s predictions aren’t always correct.
Kennedy was not appointed to maintain an ideological balance. He was selected as the most conservative guy Reagan could hope to get past Congress in the wake of the Bork/Ginsburg fiascoes.
Anyway, it’s a mistake to compare Obama’s appointees to those of prior presidents (other than possibly Bush II.) The judicial nomination process has become politicized to a degree that would have been unfathomable prior to 2000.