I came across an interesting piece of "news" today: Bush to give Supreme Court ultra-conservative edge
. Pay particular attention to the bias in the headline and how the headline is not only misleading, but has very little to do with what the article actually says...
The AFP reports:
Bush to give Supreme Court ultra-conservative edge
President George W. Bush's election victory has won him the right to give the US Supreme Court, which plays a key social role, a much stronger conservative leaning.
Many of the nine justices on the bench of America's highest court are elderly and ailing to various degrees. Four could leave during Bush's second four-year term.
No problem so far, this is true and accurate... but later in the article we read:
The Supreme Court is already seen as conservative. New nominations could push it even further to the right.
Seen as conservative by whom?!? The conservative judges are in the minority! There are only 3 truly conservative judges in the SC at the present: Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas. The rest border on mildly liberal/activist to all out progressive.
As chief justice, Rehnquist "is as conservative as you can get," said Washington lawyer Thomas Goldstein, even if he is not as "prominent ... flamboyant or provocative" as Justice Antonin Scalia.
If Rehnquist does leave the bench, added Goldstein, Bush "would nominate a very conservative justice."
I don't see how Rehnquist can be considered as conservative as you can get... think Robert Bork, who but for a lousy Senate decision could have shown the world a far truer understanding of conservatism.
As for Bush nominating a conservative justice to replace Rehnquist, that is a no brainier. With conservatives in the minority to begin with, the loss of Rehnquist would require a conservative replacement. Anything short of a conservative to replace Rehnquist would upset the balance of the SC even further in the direction of renegade activism.
In its current makeup, the Supreme Court has often decided key social cases by a single vote. And many groups that campaign for issues such as abortion rights, dread the conservative scenario.
Wait a second, first we are told from this article that the current SC is "seen as conservative" but now we are being told that many key social issues decided by this court were decided by a single vote.
For this to be the case, the current court would have to be fairly balanced. In fact, it would have to be fairly balanced but with a slight advantage to the activist/liberal judges, since we know that abortion activists, gay rights activists, and anti-religion activists have enjoyed many, many decisions in their favor from this court. This court has consistently upheld Roe v. Wade, so how this court could be considered anything other than slightly progressive is beyond reason.
This article points out that the Chief justice is "as conservative as you can get" and common sense tells us that the current SC does not have a conservative majority; therefore, if Rehnquist were to step down the conservative element would necessarily be weakened. Thus, a conservative replacement would not upset the balance; rather, it would maintain the balance.
The same is true should Scalia or Thomas step down - a conservative replacement would simply maintain the status quo. Only if a Kennedy or a Ginsburg were to step down would we see any sort of shift in the political balance of the court.
The only other comment of interest from this article came from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley towards the end of the article:
Turley, who is highly critical of Bush's anti-terrorism policies, conceded that one of the president's "better qualities" is that Bush sticks to his principles.
"He has the courage of his convictions and does not walk away from a fight," said the professor.
Turley also predicted that Bush will want to be the first president to nominate a Hispanic justice to the Supreme Court, which already has one black and two women.