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On The Record: The Disastrous Decisions of the Republican Nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court

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Message Jana Nestlerode

One of the strongest reasons to keep Republican candidates from occupying the Oval Office is the U.S. Supreme Court. Republican presidents have most consistently nominated candidates to the federal bench who choose to interpret the law to favor oligarchs and corporatists, abandoning the very principles upon which this country was founded. The only moderate Republican-nominated Supreme Court jurists in recent history have been David Souter and John Paul Stevens " both later considered traitors by their Republican benefactors.

The choice to select judges who will serve the interests of the elite at the expense of Constitutional principles has been part of a very calculated and deliberate scheme of this party. Quite simply, Republican presidents nominate federal judges who serve the one percent, NOT the people nor the Constitution. The result is the most extreme neoconservative court in the nation's history. The tortured and dishonest decisions handed down by this extremist group have essentially nullified our democracy.

The sudden demise of Antonin Scalia, one of the neoconservative darlings, has presented an opportunity to bring the Court closer to sanity, the prospects of which have the Republican bosses apoplectic. In typical Republican prevarication, they have asserted that there is a "long-standing tradition" of Presidents deferring judicial nominees in an election year. The prostrate press doesn't call them on this nonsense, so the lie stands. But the reality is that there is NO precedent for such delay or deferral. In point of fact, I can find no evidence that any President has ever deferred a judicial nomination in an election year.

The President has not succumbed to these disingenuous tactics. He will nominate a replacement. So the next weapon the Republicans have against Constitutional democracy is to refuse to call Senate hearings when the President names his nominee. Both parties have chosen this tactic in the past, but not for a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

As Sundance said to Butch "Who are those guys"? Let's take a look. Here is the recent makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Image by Jana Nestlerode)   Details   DMCA

Pundits and commentators like to characterize this court as composed of five conservatives and four liberals. That's inaccurate. The above court was composed of four extremists (Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas), one relatively traditional conservative (Kennedy) and four moderates (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan). We haven't had a true "liberal" on the bench since Thurgood Marshall. Justice Kennedy often sides with his extremist colleagues, giving them the ability to make new laws and change old ones in some very disturbing ways.

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Professor of Criminal Justice
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