Why do GOP Presidents do a poor job of picking justices?

But Dem Presidents are solid? By “poor job” I mean ideologically inconsistent.

In recent years, GOP Presidents have picked O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter, and now Roberts against Scalia, Thomas, and Alito. 3/7

In contrast Dem Presidents have picked Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor. 4/4

Why doesn’t a Dem President get surprised that his pick turns conservative? A better vetting process perhaps?

And yes, a few jabs at me about how I’m a whiny bitch because Roberts didn’t march in lock step today are acceptable, but I would like an answer to my question. I know its GQ, but it’s definitely GD, so that’s why I put it here.

Well, a hardcore predictable republican/conservative wouldn’t get past the senate, ref: Robert Bork.

So how to the hardcore dem/lib justices breeze through the Senate?

What’s been “ideologically inconsistent” about O’Connor, Kennedy, Souter or Roberts? In what way have they contradicted any of the principles and philosophies that were apparent in their writings before they were picked for the SC?

Now, if by “ideologically inconsistent” you mean that they’re less ideologically right-wing than the Presidents who selected them, or less right-wing than those Presidents would like them to be, that’s another matter.

It may be related to the hard swing to the right visible in Republican politics over the past thirty years or so. “Conservative” nowadays means something much more right-wing than it did several decades back, except perhaps on the issues of civil rights for women and minorities.

Judges in general tend to lean liberal, don’t they? Maybe there’s something in particular about the responsibilities of the judicial branch that conflicts with hard right conservative politics?

Well, I’m not sure who you have in mind as a hardcore dem/lib justice, but I venture that putting up a big kicking/screaming opposition is politically dangerous for a Senator - “I can’t vote in favour of this nominee - he’s too fond of not using the blood of poor children to lubricate factory machines!” The kinds of causes a “dem/lib” justice would vote for are indeed hateful to a significant chunk of the population, but those are the kinds of people whose votes a Republican Senator can already count on - making a big issue about it carries more risk than gain, as it were.

Or so it seems to me. A Senator who flat-out says “No, we will not put another baby-killer on SCOTUS” will certainly generate a lot of press, and certainly not all of it positive. It’s the kind of dice-roll an incumbent Senator who thinks he might lose his next election might try.

Of course, this is just me speculating on the issue.

There’s a left-wing canard that addresses this: “Reality has a liberal bias.”

Legislators can rail about doing anything they want, but judges need work within the law. Consider how many times an acknowledged conservative like **Bricker **has come down on the liberal side on these boards when discussing the legal merit of a situation–not necessarily whether or not he agrees with something, just the legal merit. The fact of the matter is that many contentious mainstream “liberal” positions tend to be legally tenable, whereas highly-touted “conservative” positions (these days) tend to be more populist and less rooted in established law. A guy like Roberts, especially as Chief Justice, is going to have a hard time ignoring a clear legal path that allows him to not strike down a federal law, even if he may personally align with positions against that law.

Antonin “you cannot lock citizens up and throw away the key” Scalia?

Roberts and Kennedy and O’Connor are all moderate conservatives. Souter proved to be more liberal than expected, although I’d point out that Bush was a moderate Republican. I think maybe we’re overstating the ideological consistency of all the judges. If you look at breakdowns of the full term, the liberal four and conservative four don’t always vote in lockstep.

That’s the guy. Why don’t GOP Presidents nominate Scalia clones each time?

As I said, did anyone here today even give a second’s hesitation that Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan or Sotomayor would vote to strike down the mandate? Of course not. Dem Presidents nominate solid liberal judges. GOP Presidents have been burned more times than a kid playing with matches and gasoline.

Are you really saying Roberts has not been reliably conservative based on just one vote?

His vote in the Arizona immigration case on Monday worried me. This confirms it. We can’t count on him to be on our side.

If you were a conservative, would you rely on Roberts as much as on Scalia or Thomas?

I think I wish people didn’t look at the Supreme Court this way, and I hope one day they stop doing so. Yes, I was sure Kagan-Sotomayor-Ginsberg-Breyer would vote to uphold, but I was just as sure Roberts would join Alito and Scalia and Thomas in voting against. I thought it’d be 5-4 with Kennedy as the swing vote. I thought it it was 6-3 to uphold Roberts would’ve been the most likely 6th, but not a whole lot of people predicted this outcome. It’s possible that in part, there’s an issue with the fact that presidents are nominating younger justices with shorter records in the hope that makes it easier to get them past the Senate. But I’m still not sure about your premise here. You really can’t tell me Roberts is anything but conservative. So is Kennedy, really - when O’Connor retired the court shifted further to the right. Say two of the five conservatives are moderate.

Well, maybe it is the vetting process because some are pointing out that Roberts vote today is consistent. He has not suddenly gone to the Light Side.

Our side? You mean Americans? I’m pretty sure he’ll stand up for us if pressed.

So, you don’t like it when he says the Constitution trumps the will of the people (AZ), and you don’t like it when he says the will of people is consistent with the Constitution (ACA). This guy can’t win with you.

It’s not a canard.

I read an opinion somewhere that Bush was too focused on finding justices who would agree with his prosecution of the Global War on Terror, and thus didn’t pay enough attention to their opinions on other issues.

Considering that the individual mandate is an idea that was invented by the Heritage Foundation, was the core of the GOP’s alternative plan to the 1993 HRC attempt, is the core of Romneycare in MA, and was supported by high-profile Republicans such as Romney and Gingrich as recently as 2009, it seems to me that finding it constitutional is consistent with conservative principles. Roberts can’t help it if the people who put him in power have done an idealogical 180 for the purposes of trying to deny Obama a victory.

The irony is amusing.


Yep, progressives are just so much more knowledgeable.