After my last lengthy spewage about Foreign Policy, I figured I’d take on something a little more straight forward. One of the largest and most lasting powers a president has is his ability to appoint judges to courts, and justices to the Supreme Court. The issues surrounding the courts are not just abortion, but privacy, freedom of speech, freedom from religion, gun control (or lack thereof), and the ability of the government to protect our environment for the next generation, just to name a few.
The current administration placed Samuel Alito and John Roberts onto the Supreme Court, making it the most conservative court in well over a century, probably dating as far back as the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which give you some idea just how far backwards we have gone. The next administration will likely see at least one Supreme Court nomination in the next four years. Justice Stevens is 88 years old. It’s almost hard to imagine how the court could shift to the right any further ith Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, considered the center of the court, but that is precisely what could happen.
Here the record of Senator McCain is crystal clear. He hasn’t waivered from it one bit. McCain is anti-choice, and he has further stated that he would like to replace the existing left side of the bench (Stevens, Ginsberg, Souter, Bryer) with people from the right. That doesn’t suit me well at all. The people on the right side of the bench, aside from taking away a woman’s right to choose, also voted to gut the Court’s own power by all but taking on Marbury v. Madison. A dysfunctional 3rd branch of the government is not what our founders had in mind.
Barack Obama is a lawyer and has tought at the University of Chicago. He is pro-choice, and in general has a more studied approach that is not subject to the strictness of ideology. This in part leaves me uncomfortable. However, given the two individuals in play, the choice is clear. McCain scores a whopping F and a low one at that on his handling of the court, while we’ll give Obama a tentative B, with perhaps as much as 70 points between them on this issue.