A Conservative Agenda Unleashed on the Federal Courts

Mar 14, 2020 · 749 comments
Pen Vs Sword (Los Angeles)
So tired of the “old White guy” references from the party of inclusiveness. Talk about being hypocritical. If Bernie, another old White guy, supporters would have come out in force in 2016 and voted for HRC instead of writing in a vote for Bernie or just staying away from the voting booths then chances are that RBG would have graciously retired and allowed the first woman President to appoint a Justice of the Supreme Court. Today, we are confronting an impeached Trump appointing lifetime positions in the Justice Department and Supreme Court. With AOC’s endorsement of Bernie instead of Biden and from some of the comments I’ve read here, it is a clear signal that “progressives” still have much to learn as our Republic descends to a shameful state from which it will take generations to recover. This old White guy is voting for Biden/Harris just as I did for HRC and twice for Obama. Stick to people’s policies instead of pigment and chromosomes.
NBrooke (East Coast West Coast)
Tyranny of the minority on the majority. It is not freedom when the views of one group, that represents a less than 50% view o the population governs the behavior and lives of all. That is a theocracy. We are at a time and place in our country where religiosity is on the decline. Not that is should matter anyway as separation of church and state is the first amendment of the constitution. And this means not inflicting your religious views and lifestyles on the rest of us, which is exactly what has happened in this country. Religious views and personal life style choices should be respected, but they cannot be respected when you are placing a legal priority of one at the expense of other peoples' personal choices. If you are all in for a conservative "christian court" then you are fundamentally anti-american and not a patriot.
Brian (Downingtown, PA)
Elections have very serious consequences. Conservatives have been playing the long game with judicial appointments for decades. Under Trump and Mitch McConnell, conservatives are executing their game plan. The Federal Society has been at the heart of the conservation agenda during this entire period. There has never been an effective liberal counterpart. I realize, of course, that many people despise Mitch McConnell--especially for his treatment of Merrick Garland. However, McConnell was playing the long game, too. What's more, McConnell was playing to win. Make no mistake about these conservative judges and justices. They are extremely conservative--and they're radical activists. We will suffer the consequences of this judiciary for decades to come. There are probably several lessons that Democrats need to learn. As I said before, elections have consequences, so Democrats need to start by taking back the Senate. Next, be just as ruthlessly political as the Republicans when appointing judges. If there's a Republican president, reject any and all unsatisfactory nominees. If there's a Democrat in the Oval Office, make sure the nominees are progressive and young. The bottom line is this: Republicans--led by Mitch McConnell--have given us the playbook. Note to Democrats: when you're in power, use it!
nickdastardly (Tampa)
@Brian Yes. This is one of the ways in which Hillary Clinton was not just like Donald Trump. Or worse, as some progressives opined.
Bibi (CA)
@Brian Agreed. They are already undoing Obamacare; do you think they would give Medicare for all a pass? Even if the vast American majority wants it and the other two branches want it? I think they will use their ill-gotten power to the fullest to destroy democracy and the welfare of the American people.
Keith Dow (Folsom Ca)
@Brian What you write makes no sense. " ... many people despise Mitch McConnell...". Yes, and people I want to never meet, don't despise him. "However, McConnell was playing the long game ..." And this is an excuse? "... McConnell was playing to win." And I thought everybody played to win. I guess McConnell playing to win is a unique phenomena. "The bottom line is this: Republicans--led by Mitch McConnell--have given us the playbook. Note to Democrats: when you're in power, use it!" No! Wrong playbook! We need to use the playbook that says the Republicans spent too much money and we need to slim down government. We need to cut back to 7 Supreme Court justices. We need to fire every judge appointed by Trump. We don't have the money to pay their salaries.
JM (San Francisco)
Whatever is in Nancy's "quiver", she'd better take out and sharpen quickly it because now that Romney has declared he will support a Trump SC appointment, the SC belongs to conservatives. Gee with a 6-3 Republican stronghold in the SC, and if Trump and Moscow Mitch can get this election to SC for a decision, Trump will be well on his way to the dictatorship he's always coveted.
Joe Rockbottom (California)
Most of these ultra right wing, ultra religious fundamentalists are grossly under qualified and were only put in due to their fealty to trump and the federalist society. The majority of Americans are liberal yet we are supposed to accept being under the thumbs of these ultra right wing troglodytes for he next several decades? Nope. We are going to fight back with everything and get America back on track towards building a civilized society.
JimBob (Los Angeles)
Why put Trump's name on this? He doesn't know who these people are, couldn't pick one of them out at a cocktail party.
Kate (San Francisco)
Why is this referred to as an "accomplishment"? What did he do other than maybe scrawl his narcissistic signature on a paper that was handed to him? And now we all have to live with the repercussions for decades to come.
Gloria Anders (NYC)
Elections have consequences, I guess.
Tom Jenner (Houghs Neck, MA)
Who changed the filibuster rule ?? Dont need 60 to confirm federal level judges.....I cant think of the name of the guy that changed that rule...hmmmm....When you support weak leaders you become the problem in the equation, its really your fault.
angel98 (nyc)
Now that Barr is trying to force courts to try people on charges of sedition for protesting you can see some McConnell's court packing plans more clearly. Compare the strategy in Poland, Hungary and India and other countries where the legitimacy of the courts cannot "protect the people from the extremes of politics." https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/09/opinion/hungary-turkey-india-courts.html
J. (Midwest)
The irony is that, but for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, none of the women or non-white judges would be sitting on the bench. As for those voters whose goal is overturning Roe v. Wade, be careful what you wish for. Once that is achieved, the Republican Party will cynically find its next enemy to garner continued support and power. Your faith, your ethnicity or race, your gender, or your preferences may be in the crosshairs next. That is how tyranny works.
wm.h.evans (media, pennsylvania)
This will not be an election, but a coup perpetrated by a gaggle of right-wingers and corrupt jurors more comfortable in a fascist state than a Democratic Republic. Trump and his cult do not want to govern but to dictate. How will I ever explain what is happening to my grand-children?
Boat52 (Naples, FL)
Ginsburg was well into her eighties when Obama was president. She had been ill and given her age and health issues, could have resigned and allowed the Dems to pick her successor. But no, she choose to go on and throw the dice she lived through another presidency. Was she incapable of believing that a Republican could win the presidency? Or was she so self-focused that she did not care? Had Clinton won, all this fuss would not be going on. There needs to be age limits at all levels of government. Do we really want people in the late stages of life trying to make extremely important decisions for the country that they mentally and physically are not up to doing?
Eric Murphy (Brooklyn)
Well. With Romney backing the process it’s over for now as they will jam a nominee through either before the election or in the lame duck session. There is ONLY one repost to Save the Country. Vote the D’s into power everywhere. Norms and Rules are gone so. If the D’s win the House, Senate, and Presidency, then move immediately to: 1. Add 4 Justices to the Court 2. Add DC as a State 3. Add Puerto Rico as a State 4. Impeach any Federal Judge where there is legitimate cause to do so. 5. Redo the 2020 Census and strike the results of the current one as illegitimate as not Constitutional as it did not meaningfully attempt to count ALL the people 6. Expand Voting Rights Act and Voting Protections 7. Make Election Day a National Federal Holiday If you do not do this or do not win the Election: Health Care is gone Social programs are gone Our Military and Diplomatic power are gone Our Personal freedoms are gone The right to choose is gone The Autocracy fueled by Corporate and Uber Wealth replaces Democracy forever without a true Revolution If these things do not alter their course, the Great Experiment of the Founders is Over. This makes me angry but also very very sad. I never wanted to leave this Country. But I may have to rather than continue to be subjected to the tyranny of the minority. That makes me clinically depressed, and existing in the absence of hope.
Brian (Downingtown, PA)
@Eric Murphy I concur with your sentiments. Of your suggestions, 6 and 7 are particularly worthwhile. Your first suggestion will probably be needed. Also, let's not forget that Chuck Schumer will need to amend the Senate's filibuster rules.
Mutt Furball (The Great Flyover)
Turning the federal judiciary into Salem witchcraft tribunals is one among so many of Trump’s “most endearing accomplishments”? A measure of how far we’ve fallen.
Cheery (San Antonio)
Why is any of this a surprise? We are country founded by mostly rich ,white guys who believed in slavery. And as long as things were ok for the mostly white majority, we did little self examination. The civil war was followed closely by Jim Crow laws. The right is firmly committed to maintaining power. They have been willing to do anything and everything to achieve that end. I fear that we on the left are too late in realizing that we are rapidly approaching an authoritarian future.
Tired of Complacency (Missouri)
Thus cementing minority rule for 2 generations... Never mind that the majority of voters align with: - equal access to voting, Voting Right Act - access to abortion - clear separation of church and state - equal rights for LGBT community - reasonable immigration laws - Executive branch checks and balances to be honored, not avoided - healthcare access as a right - clean water and air as a right The "old, white guy" GOP representing a minority view in each case have given up on governing, legislating, compromising and decided to grab more power, outliving their own lives and those of their children. Their slow-rolling coup is essentially complete. Horrifying how easily and quickly our nation has slipped into a minority rule nation... to make matters worse, with a dictator wannabe like Trump involved the use of law to punish political rivals is also in play as all protesters are now labeled anarchists and seditionists.
Donna Gray (Louisa, Va)
Of course Democrats did the exact thing when they had the Presidency! Elections do have consequences, as someone famous once said! And how do Democrats explain the contrast on voting patterns of Supreme Court Justices? Those appointed by Democrats vote as block without almost any exception. In contrast, many Republican appointed Justices, including those approved by the Federalist Society, have for decades bucked the 'party line'. How many times have Democrat Justices acted that way?
Happy Liberal (MT Vernon, NH)
Trump may well be remembered for his impact on the courts. However, this is a relatively arcane subject, and to pretend it is top of mind for the average citizen is stretching it a might. Trump's real legacy will be as the peace President. Trump is the first President since Jimmy Carter to not engage the US in a new foreign war. Trump has ended most involvement in Syria. Peace talks are underway with Afghanistan. We are planning for an Iraq exit. Israel has signed peace treaties with their neighbors. Trump is reducing troops in Germany. These actions are in fact much of the reason the deep state hates him so. The endless war strategy the US has pursued forever has been the golden goose for corrupt politicians and deep state actors to rip off the American taxpayer for trillions.
sterlingfoss (ny)
but I wonder what the American experience will become when our tentacles have retracted...
Some Dude (CA Sierra Country)
Nice piece; we need more reporting like this. Now, what to do with the information. Perhaps Congress should institute a confidence vote every few years offering an opportunity to remove malfunctioning judges from the bench. That third branch needs some oversight and checking. If judges fail to honestly and fairly apply the law, they must be removed. Our system collapses otherwise.
Kristin (Anchorage, AK)
Last time I checked being a conservative white male wasn't a crime. Repeatedly proposing that "packing the courts" is an acceptable solution suggests that tilting the ideological balance of the court in favor of liberals is morally right, which it is not. The ends don't justify the means, and it's odd that the Democrats, the party of high morals, would even be considering such a plan. (It also relies on Dems gaining control of the presidency and Senate.) Our system of government failed us miserably and an authoritarian president took advantage of every tool at hand to increase his party's power, which was inevitable in our dysfunctional two party system. The only surprise is that it hasn't happened before now.
Toms Quill (Monticello)
I don’t get the term “conservative.” Isn’t it really simply giving the big corporations who fund the GOP’s re-elections everything they want? Isn’t it really givIng the powerful more power? Isn’t it really about this self-perpetuating and ever-enlarging snowball of power, with no intrinsic limit to the power and wealth that can be amassed by fewer and fewer people? And even when the bottom would seem to fall out, and the system is on the verge of collapse — floods, fires, scourges, homelessness, drought, famine, one catastrophe piling on another —and the scheme seems unsustainable, the newly usurped power gets repurposed and used to suppress and oppress the weak majority all the more: propaganda in the media and social media, troops shooting protesters, tax fraud and manipulation, lining personal pockets with government funds, pitting one weak group against another, changing rules and policies at a whim with no other principle or accountability, sabotaging the very mechanism — elections — that are the only hope of the weak to have a government that helps and protects them rather than oppresses and exploits them. Conservatism has no other principle than to conserve and enlarge the power of the powerful.
sterlingfoss (ny)
by your descriptions, it is certainly not libertarian. A libertarian society would not rely upon legal oscillations but rather the grassroots affiliations of people, I. E. fraternities, associations, businesses, clubs, neighborhoods, churches, streets... what do you want America? how can you achieve it?
pat (oregon)
Rather than increase the number of justices, the Dems should legislate fifteen year term limits for justices on all federal courts including SCOTUS. Clock starts when they were appointed. Which would vacate four seats immediately: Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Breyer.
KN (NYC)
American democracy dies when the rule of law can no longer be trusted. The courts are now beholden to ideology and special interests. The people’s trust in our court system has vanished. The Great Experiment has been ended.
sterlingfoss (ny)
libertarian ideals, perhaps a pillar of American imagination, require a simplified and steady legal structure.
Essentially... (NYC)
Despite this, Trump has been handed a remarkable number of defeats, by Federal and Appellate judges and by the Supreme Court, because his actions go beyond those which have two sides. Most of them are clearly illegal.
kirk (montana)
This court stacking by the federalist society (a second generation John Birch Society funded by Koch money) that is so out of step with American values and racial make up is going to take at least 20 years to work out through legislation. The most likely scenario is a second amendment backlash by disenfranchised voters that results in a failed crack down by state actors resulting in new legislatures and new laws limiting judicial terms and increasing the number of judges. I do not see a nonviolent ending to the path that the conservatives have taken us down unless there is an overwhelming Democrat tsunami in November.
Sid (NY)
If the Republicans are successful in seating a new Justice before the next Congress convenes, they will have shown themselves to be devoid of any principles whatsoever. That being the case, the Democrats (should they win control of the Senate) should feel free to "play ball" by the new set of rules defined by Trump, McConnell and company. In that new "game", any constraints the Democrats might once have felt will have been removed. All options should then be on the table. The Democrats should explore those options fully with an eye to once again bringing balance to the Judiciary. It is unacceptable to seat judges who have an agenda. Those who cannot keep their religion separate from their judgments, who cannot put their personal preferences aside, should not serve on any court! As but one example, an individual who states that a “legal career is but a means to an end … and that end is building the Kingdom of God", should not be allowed to serve as a judge in any courtroom anywhere in this country!!
OldPadre (Hendersonville NC)
When the courts are staffed with political appointees of a particular political leaning, the nation is truly doomed. If it is impossible to get a fair, balanced, and impartial hearing to a grievance, there is little oportunity for recourse. This is especially true if, as it is now is, the sanctity of the vote is muddled. That leaves only the street, which can lead to violence. Trump's legacy is the end of the America we all once knewand loved. How could this have happened??
Ski bum (Colorado)
The republicans have executed their long strategy flawlessly. Since the ruling on Roe v. Wade in 1973, over 47 years ago, the Republican far right have been planning and executing a strategy to swing the courts pro life and reverse this fateful decision. They have finally succeeded. It is foolhardy to think that democrats will stop this assault before next spring. The only hope of salvaging Roe v. Wade is for democrats to win the White House and Senate, change Senate rules, impeach Justice Kavanaugh, and increase the Supreme Court from 9 to 11 justices. A very tall order on all counts. But nothing will change unless something changes....bring about real change and vote Democrat up and down the ticket.
Mike B (Boston)
Looking at our current problems, I frequently ask myself, what would the founding fathers have done. Here we have a president who lost the popular vote. We have a senate controlled by the party representing 15 million fewer people than their opposition. Our courts are being packed by the loser of the popular vote. What would the founding fathers have done if they didn't have fair representation? Actually, we don't have to ask that question because we already know the answer. They would have started a revolution.
JS (Seattle)
Minority rule by the GOP will not end well, I'm afraid. Those of us in the majority are at our wits' end, and are ready for more direct action, mass civil disobedience.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
The conservatives have focused on the Supreme Court since the Warren Court and it’s striking down of old anti-democratic practices, outright bigoted practices, exclusions of legal protections where defendants were not affluent, evasions of legal responsibilities for the politically connected, and interference with public institutions by religious ones. By trying to make the country less unfair, the court was eroding privileges and advantages and licenses to exploit other people as should have been done decades before. It drove a lot of people crazy with frustration. They wanted to feel free and having to tolerate a lot of unworthy people just to live up to a lot of silly ideas about democracy and liberty did not feel like freedom. This totalitarian mentality by Republicans who are placing solidarity over public service is devoted to returning the country back to 1950. It really is and it’s the 1950 of reactionaries rather liberal political philosophy conservatives, people who think of themselves as deserving of privileges over all others. They don’t care about having government be of the people, by the people, nor for the people, nor do they care about liberty. They prefer having their ways by means of wealth and control of the public institutions to exploit for their own advantages. They think that their lives and powers can be self perpetuating.
Kennedy (Johannesburg)
No more going high when they go low. The Democrats need to win the presidency and senate and democratise the United States: statehood for D.C and Puerto Rico (if they want it), end the filibuster and, dare I say this, pack the courts.
John F. Thurn (Mojave Desert, CA)
Nothing like being able to appoint your own judges when you are being investigated on multiple fronts. Trump has gone as far as admitting that he knows his tax fraud investigation in NY will end up at the Supreme Court, it is out in plain daylight for all to see, and still, we do nothing? Where is the reporting on this?
PJ (SOA)
Let’s pack the courts, let’s impeach the judges, let’s reduce the Federal bench using “last in first out”, therefore Trump’s picks, let’s unfriend, or cancel anyone who has a deferent opinion - conservatives are a cult of personality?
sedanchair (Tacoma, WA)
We can’t recover from this. The system must be destroyed, a new civil war won, and a new constitutional convention held. 
Tayvon (NJ)
Foolishly, in 2013 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democrat colleagues abolished the filibuster. It was both shortsighted and unwise. What goes around comes around. The Dems will continue to pay for their stupidity for a long time.
Michael (In the crucible...)
A sea of white faces. I spent most of my life recovering from the Catholic church, and these people will govern us, yes govern with "their" god's voice in their head. Well, once they shrink our health care even more, much less make it affordable, they will tell us it's "god's will". Well, he/she has never been all that good to me, so I don't expect much.
True Observer (USA)
This is nothing. Wait until the rioters start showing up before Trump appointed district court judges.
Snarky (Maryland)
So I guess Black people are good enough for the gop vote but just not intelligent enough to be trusted to be a judge. Surprise? I think not...
Jack (Columbus, Ohio)
I bet that most of them are anti-abortion Catholics as well.
pajaritomt (New Mexico)
Kiss our democracy goodbye,
Joe (Minnesota)
How many judges would Republicans have appointed had Al Gore or Hillary Clinton been president. Reader comments are giving credit to Mitch McConnell. Some comments reference it's not how the founders intended. How about how badly the founders set up this system? How does someone win the election by 544,000 votes and not become president (Gore)? Or Hillary Clinton by 3 million? What were the consequences of those elections? And why did they not become president? This isn't a democracy. The US House is not representational because of gerrymandering. And the Senate isn't representational with two senators per state. Why should we expect our government to reflect the people when the people don't decide who gets in?
Terri (Arnold)
People are talking about packing the courts by adding judges. Why not reduce the number of federal judges— last in, first out— instead? After all, it’s obvious we will need some paring of the federal government to address the looming fiscal crisis. If reducing the number of judges proves to significantly impair court efficiency, Congress could restore the judicial positions and the Senate could confirm new judges, after a decent interval, of course.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
The decisions of the highest court resolve legal precedents. Jim Crow and all the advantages it provided to some people became unlawful because of the decisions of the high court. Prayers i public schools were also made unlawful by decisions of the high court.
Joe B. (Center City)
How many of these “all the best” white judges had never been in a court room other than a swearing in before they were “elevated”?
Scott Franklin (Arizona State University)
They are on the bench, nominated by an impeached president, therefore all of them have an asterisk next to their name. OH...and if Donnie and his boys can flaunt the law, ignore subpoenas left and right, and break the law, then so can I. I deem them unqualified, nominated by an unqualified, unpopular and loser of the last election. Impeach them all in January.
SC2019 (CA)
All white and almost all male.
george eliot (annapolis, md)
They're mostly white and have been deemed "unqualified" by the American Bar Association. But that' OK, you're looking at people who couldn't make a living outside the world of religious and right-wing fanaticism.
Boris (New Jersey)
Dems To-Do list: 1. Get rid of Trump 2. Take the Senate 3. Get rid of filibuster 4. Add 4 more states to the Union: DC, Puerto Rico, Samoa and Guam 5. Pack the Courts (not just the Supreme Court) 6. Increase the size of House to about 600 7. Replace electoral college with National Popular Vote This is ambitious, but with filibuster gone we can get this done quickly and protect our democracy for some time to come.
Frank Grimes (Illinois)
@Boris 8. Fix the cities that they've controlled for decades. Can't blame Trump or the Republicans for Chicago...
Ozark Sundrop (Massachusetts)
@Boris Samoa and Guam?
MAW (New York)
How fatally ironic it is that there is not one woman in this sea of white faces who would even BE a judge if it wasn't for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Conservatives have railed with contempt and acted with unrelenting hypocrisy to thwart every aspect of liberalism for decades upon decades while enjoying its benefits every second of every day.
krubin (Long Island)
How come "elections have consequences" didn't apply to Obama, who was duly elected and reelected by some of biggest numbers ever. There was nearly a full year of his term left unlike now, when the nation is already well into an election, and no Supreme Court Justice has been confirmed in so little time. These are lifetime appointments, and are supposed to take care of vetting. And be clear: Trump voters were 42% (Hillary Clinton got an unprecedented 3 million more votes); the Senate Republican majority represents 40% of the population but has 53% of the seats. The same construct, thanks to gerrymandering, voter suppression, follows in the states. With the system for the Electoral College, coastal Blue State citizens count for 3/5 of a person. Vast majorities of Americans support gun control, a woman's right to choose (which also means to choose not to have an abortion), health care, environmental protections and workers rights. But these judges do not. They do not uphold the essence of "We the people" or equality among people.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Elections have consequences is an interesting idea. It means that whomever achieves electoral victory has a license to use the authority given by all exclusively for themselves. If one has a brain, one realizes that it claims that we have not a government by law but by whomever can get control by electoral victory.
Jim (Cleveland OH)
The bigger question is "How long can the USA tolerate minority rule?"
jdmignola (NJ)
@krubin There's no use crying about republican hypocrisy, it's what they have in place of a back bone.
Michael (Boston)
Conservative? Many were nominated and confirmed that were manifestly unqualified. Republicans created a blockade of Obama’s nominations to the federal court for purely partisan advantage. The law and the courts are supposed to be blind to person or party, certainly not constituted by a right-wing power grab. Democrats have not choice but to respond. We will but with qualified judges who are not vetted through a far right-wing, fringe organization such as the “Federalist Society.”
NE (Ohio)
Further proof that the work of our courts is to cater to special interest money and political agendas. And the entire legal apparatus of lawmakers. law enforcement and lawyers is tasked with funneling a steady stream of low hanging fruit into the legal machinery.
SystemIsBroken (Seattle)
These judges carry the stain of being a Trump appointee. Their rulings should be viewed in this light.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
It cannot work that way. They determine what is and is not the law as it applies across our entire legal establishment.
JoeGiul (Florida)
This is a good thing as we have moved way too far from the constitution and the vision of our founders.
KN (NYC)
I could give you likely over 1,000 reasons why this statement is historically false. Unfortunately the times only allows 1500 words. So I’ll leave you with 1. In order to understand the American Revolution, one must first understand The French Enlightenment, since our founders literally plagiarized their writings. Go read Rousseau and study that time period. Then come back to me.
Cheery (San Antonio)
@JoeGiul The Founders realized that with time, things would change. The dinosaurs of the Republican party are using the rules of the 18th century to live in the 21st century. And like the dinosaurs, the Republican party will soon be extinct.
Al Fresco (Wisconsin)
How can any person be pro-life while at the same time sanction the death penalty? How does one justify being pro-life while ignoring poverty, accessible health care, education, food stamp programs, prisons, homelessness? To be pro-life is no more than lie to get votes from those who have lost their abilities to think.
JM (San Francisco)
@Al Fresco Donald Trump, pro-life? Is that why he let 200,000 people die from a pandemic he could have had under control months ago? AND why he will let another 200,000 more die without lifting a finger or batting an eyelash. Trump believes in "Herd mentality"! Survival of the fittest. "Iti is what it is", he shrugs. The irony is that Trump's biggest supporters are SENIORS and yet these are the very people who are dying by the thousands each day because he refuses to take the lead and coordinate a strong national COVID response. Quite the opposite, Trump instead coordinates large super-spreader indoor rallies to intentionally infect even thousands more. "You'll see, It will go away, it will just magically disappear."
BD (SD)
@Al Fresco ... false equivalency. An unborn child has not committed murder.
jdmignola (NJ)
@Al Fresco Unnecessary wars, guns, racism, hunger insecurity, locking children in cages etc. etc. Roe v. Wade is a wedge issue and a smoke screen; hypocrisy and shamelessness are the only important planks in the republican platform.
JohnXLIX (Michigan)
How sad that so many "respectable" people think having a rigged justice system is the way to protect democracy and individual freedom from oppression. What we need are true thinkers, not people with agendas. Remember that the Dredd Scott decision was Buchanan's and Taney's idea how to solve the disagreements over slavery once and for all by having the Supreme Court deny that POC had any rights or ever would. We have people in this country who hate the lack of control integrity and freedom of action means for their greed and lust for power over others. They are the ones who hate everyone who is not safely one of their cult. They are not not our friends and regarding them as respectable because of wealth or breeding is what caused all the ills in Europe. We don't need people of "privilege" telling us what to do. But our reactionary royalists still insist we do.
SSJ (Texas)
This article was published in March 2020 and they're reminding you of it again today at the NYT. Well, well, well. There's only one problem: The fear and trepidation by the authors and those submitting letters that the Supreme Court would become so conservative that it would roll back, obstruct, and end women's rights, civil rights, and Roe/Wade hasn't happened, has it? So who wants to tell us with accuracy and certainty when these rollbacks, limitations, and cancellations of civil, women's, and abortion rights are going to occur? For anyone predicting now, it would be bogus speculation and nothing more. No evidence. No proof of anything. Three SC appointments in his first term? The Federal Judiciary will be Trump's legacy. No matter the outcome in November, he wins either way for decades to come.
JM (San Francisco)
@SSJ We'll pack the court. If the SC delivers a 5-4 decision, why should ONE person decide the fate of 350 MILLION Americans. As one person pointed out.... Why not have 19 SC justices from different parts of the country? They all hear the case, they all judge, they dissent and then they take a vote. Majority wins. Same amount of time. And much better representation!
John (Glenview)
@SSJ ~ " that it would roll back, obstruct, and end women's rights, civil rights, and Roe/Wade hasn't happened, has it? " It's getting really close. But yes, the Federal dominance of his campaign buddies now turned into pseudo-judges is scary.
Brian (Downingtown, PA)
@SSJ Perhaps. But it's easy to expand the number of judges. And it would be easy for Democrats to confirm plenty of "liberal" judges. Time will tell.
Nothingbutblueskies (washington)
This is the definition of institutionalized or systemic racism.
Mauricio (Houston)
Great work by President Trump. He has my vote.
CAC (NJ)
I really hope that’s sarcasm.
Shea (Colorado)
I find this article disingenuous. You make a big deal of Trump appointing as many judges in 3 years as Obama did in 8. But they both have appointed roughly the same amount of judges. Trump is going to be a one term President. You scream for diversity of thought, I agree, but when it differs from your beliefs it's wrong, why? You like to position Trump as incompetent, but in this article your actually bragging for him about his competency, it's just that you don't like the accomplishments. The Biden administration and the Democratic senate will have many years to appoint judges, so the pendulum will swing, no worries.
JM (San Francisco)
@Shea It is inconceivable that anyone could ever see Trump as competent.
Alexis (Canada)
Except ALL of Obama’s nominees where vetted by the American Bar Association and found to be qualified for the job. All of Trumps nominees have also been vetted by the American Bar Association and most have been found to be badly unqualified. And that includes the Attorney General who has NEVER argued any case in any court of law!
jdmignola (NJ)
@Shea trump is still incompetent; without mcconnell he is nothing really and, without the rank misrepresentation of 'We the people...' in the senate, mcconnell representing the welfare state of kentucky, is nothing.
Chris (Charlotte)
When was the Federalist Society ever considered a fringe group by anyone?
caljn (los angeles)
How have the dems voted in confirming all these judges?
Brian H. (Portland, OR)
As the result, no progressive reforms passed through the legislative process will survive legal challenges for generations to come. We have the courts we deserve. What else should we expect when democrats don't get out and vote as reliably as Repiblicans?
humanist (New York, NY)
Abraham Lincoln said that the role of the Constitution was to make possible the ever more closely approximation, in real life, with the opening words of the Declaration of Independence - "We hold these trughts to be inalienable, that "All men [now people] are created equal." In addition, in the constitution, as in the Bible, some sections are of more importance, generality, or timelessness than others. [The Ten Commandments, or the Sermon on the Mount, are more important than the list of begats]. In The Constitution, THE 14TH Amendment is one of the very most important sections. It should take precedence over arcane sections that are clearly artifacts of US reality in the 18th century. The 14th amendment, properly read, guarantees such items as one person, one vote, racial equality, gender equality, and so much more. In fact, it is the rift in the constitution through which the vehicle of social democracy can be driven. Finally, all readings of the constitution are interpretations - so much for original intent, which is only an INTELLCTUALLY AND MORALLY BANKRUPT excuse to use the limitations of the 18th century to deprive Americans of expanded rights and responsibilities.
JQGALT (Philly)
How can there be “Trump judges” if we’re told there are no “Obama judges?”
Slipping Glimpser (Seattle)
If the left sweeps this November, then how about impeaching those who can be?
Per Axel (Richmond)
@Slipping Glimpser Impeaching a sitting Federal Judge is very difficult. But Congress can change each and every law they want if the Democrats take over both houses of Congress. Then when a federal Judge does not follow the written law, that makes it much easier to remove them from office. In fact any governmental official who does not follow the law can then be removed.
ronnyc (New York, NY)
They must all be impeached and removed. All of them. They are all fruit of the poisonous tree.
Gustav Aschenbach (Venice)
If you're young and you think non-binary, and #metoo, and #blacklivesmatter, and ethnic and racial diversity, and freedom from religion are the norm for your future, and you think you won't vote because "they're all the same, they're all corrupt, they all lie," think again.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Why fill up the court with people who are not even interested in serving impartially. Why perceive the perfection of civil liberties to be contrary to the principles of a nation whose principle founding idea is that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator by certain unalienable rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Why seek to introduce government that is directed by religion instead of keeping government separate from religion when if any one religion becomes dominant, and dissenters will become second class citizens? Why replace freedom of conscience and individual liberties with a system that is devoted to conforming to some religious way of life imposed by the state? Because that is what this selection of judges will seek.
SC2019 (CA)
@Casual Observer beautifully said.
Nellie McClung (Canada)
More than half of the 24 people in the photo montage is a white male. Aside from their qualifications, how does that even remotely resemble the population that they oversee as a judge?
Decent Guy (Arizona)
"the Trump class of appellate judges, much like the president himself, breaks significantly with the norms set by his Democratic and Republican predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush." That alone is reason enough to be happy about Trump and his judicial picks. People thought Bush was the end of America. Other people thought Obama was the end of America. Looking back, there was little or no daylight between those two "opposites." One lied about how much he'd raise our taxes, the other lied about how we could keep our doctors. One got us into wars in the Middle East, the other carpet-bombed the countries the first one missed. People in the media shriek "Trump is wrecking the government!" like that will keep us from voting for him again. You don't realize that's why we voted for him in the first place.
Therese (MA)
Congrats, you’ve succeeded spectacularly in destroying the country. That you take such pride in it is alarming to decent people around the world.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Look there is no progress in human history. There are golden eras when the better angels of humans produces reasonable societies in which people feel confident with trusting people to act reasonably and to act reasonably without needing harsh authoritarian authorities to keep them from preying on others. These periods may last many generations but for some reason they tend to disintegrate and to be replaced by ruling groups who mistrust everyone. That’s who are dominating the Republican Party and who are trying to turn our laws into their means of social control over the liberties of individuals who fail to act according to their preferences. Humans spend half of their history in the light and half in darkness, we are entering a dark age.
SC2019 (CA)
@Casual Observer I was hoping that we entered the dark age with Trump and now if we can defeat him next month will be slowly coming out of the dark age.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
These judges are committed to instituting laws to impose conformance to religious values and to provide carte blanche for business and conservative groups to control the law and government. That’s why so many of them have proven to be ignorant of the law and silly enough to let themselves be nominated. They simply do not respect the law as a core factor in a system in which all may be treated as equals.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
If your main objective is to increase inequality, then the most important institution to get control of is the one that is charged with dispensing it. Once "equal treatment under the law" no longer exists, because the courts have been stacked with ideologues and political hacks, than almost any form of corruption can suddenly be "legalized" for self-serving political purposes. We all saw this in action recently when extortion, by the President of the United States, was recently made "legal" by the GOP controlled Senate. It's like a bad TV commercial. "Term limits getting in your way of setting up an authoritarian government? No problem! Your hand picked lackey appointees in the judiciary are there to make sure you can get rid of them!" When the legal system is rife with corruption, then there is no mechanism left for the people to seek remedies for any injustices that the government may visit upon them. And that is precisely when injustice prevails. And like the corruption that brought it power, it will be ubiquitous and all pervasive. These people were appointed by Donald Trump, not for their commitment to equality and impartiality, but because of their complete lack of it. And once the law is in the hands of a single entity, it ceases to exist, and a dictatorship becomes inevitable. Just look at every single dictatorship around the world for the proof of this.
Will Workman (Vermont)
Oh, good grief. Liberal presidents nominate liberal justices and conservative presidents appoint conservative ones. It's nothing new, it's just that for so long now, liberals have been used to the courts acting in the name of "progress" that a level playing field seems tilted to them. In the past few years, liberal judges have massively over-used nationwide injunctions. They've issued rulings without citing law, often in cases where the plaintiff shouldn't even have been given standing. They seem to be driven by a belief that we have no right to enforce our borders. They see voter suppression everywhere. They have denied the current president the same powers they gladly granted the last one. It looks like that era is coming to an end and I for one will be happy. If we want the laws changed, let's change them. The courts should be at the end of that process, not the beginning.
Robert Porter (Easthampton, MA)
An example of that not happening was gutting the voting rights act. Scalia said it was a bad law. That congress found it easier to keep renewing it than not. That the court was doing what congress wasn’t courageous enough to do. Roberts justified his vote by saying the law was unnecessary because race was no longer an issue in America.
Tom (Hudson Valley)
Please confirm this to be true... if Democrats win the Presidency and Senate in November, and keep the House, it is possible to impeach some of these justices if they violated their judicial oath?
Paul Cado (Yukon, Canada)
Aren't judges supposed to pass judgements on their cases according to legal precedents? They shouldn't base decisions based on their questionable ideologies. I hope that Trump gets a well-deserved boot Nov. 3. The next president will have to spend a lot of time undoing the mess he's made. I hope it works out well for the USA.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Conservatives oppose the principle of an independent judiciary filling up the judiciary. These people will seek the demands of their political masters to reduce the separation of church and state and of individual liberties. Conservatives are authoritarians who have always opposed our liberal democratic form of government. They never accepted government by consent of the government instead of by the grace of God to have authority. They oppose one person one vote in favor of the best people deciding for all. They oppose freedom of conscience preferring the moral authority of their religions. They hate judges who respect the spirit of the laws contrary to the will of those with wealth, high prestigious social positions, and private power.
ml (usa)
Probably the biggest reason Trump's base, and the GOP, puts up with his obvious incompetence (alas, it doesn't take much to rubber stamp these nominations) and religious hypocrisy . They are playing the long game, and have been for decades, and these judges will remain long after Trump is gone.
Honor senior (Cumberland, Md.)
America will forever be indebted to President Trump for halting the viral Left-Wing Court attempts to control all American's with their Robes and Gavels, by creating their own National Laws! He has done his part to save our Nation from the ignorant destructiveness of the Progressive Socialist Left; all who are thankful and care need to show their thanks in November!
caljn (los angeles)
@Honor senior You're old. Soon you'll be gone.
Cheery (San Antonio)
@Honor senior Can you name me a country where the citizens thrive economically and socially following the tenets that you seem to hold dear?
Lacaata (Grand Forks, ND)
Fortunately they do not have life terms, like the ridiculous Supreme Court policy. We can eventually sweep them out
JANA (Wyoming)
Praise God, this gives me even greater confidence in our President.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
These people were appointed by Donald Trump, not for their impartiality, but because of their complete lack of it. The one and only consideration for these judges was, "Do you swear to remain loyal to Donald Trump and the GOP - no matter what?" And, believe me, there would have been no wedding until the respondent replied, "I do!".
judith (ny)
Trump and his judges boast of a new conservative justice system. Instead, what we are now in is a new CoronaVirus World which doesn't care about Trump's stacked court or his self-congratulatory legacy. Everything is up for infection and possible elimination.
Wombat (Earth)
And all of this is why I look forward to re-electing Donald Trump.
JFMACC (Lafayette)
Mainly picked because they let all white collar criminals go free; all corrupt government officials go free; all racially prejudiced law enforcement officers go free... It's a major criminal enterprise.
Jay David (NM)
All ideologies have great flaws. However, the conservative ideology is BY FAR the stupidest on on earth: 1) The desire to return to the past (impossible) 2) To live in an idyllic world that never existed 3) That was so brutal that we can't even imagine it...unless we watch videos from inside the Islamic State. And these are the people who will save us from the pandemic.
johnlo (Los Angeles)
Hence, the loyalty of Trump supporters.
Jerry B. (Oquossoc, Maine)
I see all these intemperate, rude, and ill-mannered comments below. The meaning of these comments is that their authors want judges who will rule the way they like. In other words, all they care about it outcomes. Not the Law, and certainly not about any principle of impartiality, equal justice, etc. They want their side to win. Period. These whinging commenters should remember however, that it was their own saintly President Obama, who while shoving his own views down the throats of Republicans, declared, "Elections have consequences." And so they do ....
Marisa Leaf (Kensington, Brooklyn)
Sorry, as far as I'm concerned, this is a rogues' gallery lf judges.
Michael (Massachusetts)
Given the increased political activism of Federal Judges appointed by Trump, as compared with previous Presidents, care should be exercised regarding the recusal of Judges from cases to which they have a conflict of interest. For example, one Judge, who dissented on the decision regarding release of Trump's financial records, had worked in President Trump's Administration. There have been many other examples. It should be clear that Judges with political agendas are going to be less likely to recuse themselves from cases which advance or defend their agendas. The American Bar Association should pay close attention, and hold Judges accountable who fail to make appropriate decisions regarding recusal.
goackerman (Bethesda, Maryland)
This article has things backwards. It is the liberal justices who are challenging the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the undemocratic branch of government. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution gives the Supreme Court interpretation of the Constitution priority over that of the Executive or Legislative branches. The Supreme Court has appropriated this power for itself and the rest of the government has allowed it to continue, figuring that there has to be a final word somewhere. The Court should be very modest with this extra-constitutional authority. But it hasn't been. The left-wing of the Court has devised the most pernicious legal idea current -- the "living Constitution". Under this view, as few as five unelected lawyers, seated as justices and acting as a super-legislature, or as our Platonic Guardians, or however they fancy themselves, can fasten onto the Constitution their notion of what should be public policy. This has happened numerous times. Currently, four liberal justices appear to be ready to declare capital punishment unconstitutional, even though the Constitution expressly provides for it. Should they find a sympathetic fifth justice, they will amend the Constitution unconstitutionally. The federal courts, from the Supreme Court on down, needs more, not fewer, jurists who will look to the words of the Constitution and their original meaning and not take it onto themselves powers that belong to the other branches.
Texas Duck (Dallas)
Seriously- a group of conservative theorists and jurists literally fabricate original intent in order to ignore a common sense interpretation of the Constitution and craft a theory of construction that is at its core racist, and you criticize liberal justices?
curmudgeon74 (Bethesda MD)
@goackerman You're not entitled to alternative facts. Bush v Gore violated states rights on political matters and usurped Florida's authority over its election process, a decision so activist that Scalia later conceded it was a mess. Shelby County reached out to void parts of the Voting Rights Act without any factual predicate, and its activism was confirmed by the immediate upsurge in voting suppression by states that previously had to clear changes through DoJ. Citizens United should be styled 'citizens dispossessed' of their constitutional rights, because individuals can hardly out-spend corporations in either lobbying or campaign contributions. Your perspective on the court's activism is positively Orwellian.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
The unalienable rights include anyone’s right to defy other people’s religious values, and religious values may not be imposed by means of government even if a majority of citizens want it. It’s called freedom of conscience and it means nobody may limit anyone’s rights because they do not conform with them.
larry svart (Portland oregonl)
As any competent linguist will acknowledge (as some have to me), pop-culture word usages often directly contradict the plain meaning of the basic definitions. So it is that "fundamentalist" religious sects are actually superficialist, and "conservative" actually means reactionary (and thereby also anti-conservative). So none of the last couple decades of court-packing "conservative" but actually anti-conservative judicial rulings are really conservative but transparently are really their exact opposite. And even more basically, and contrary, again, to pop-culture (and even academic) assumptions, natural law is always more fundamental (i.e..: conservative) than so-called "positive" or human or "paper" laws. Nature bats first, nature bats last, nature bats always. So, to put it quite bluntly, natural law precedes, originates, permeates , surrounds and transcends all human laws. And this meta-fact explains why "laws" throughout history everywhere succeed and/or fail to the degree that they don't contradict natural law. The mootness or degree of nullity of "laws", as well as the degree of misery and suffering experienced by people as a consequence (long or short term) is a measure of this very ultra-fact. The universal unwritten constitution out of which human laws chaotically emerge always tends to destroy the presumptive effort to deny these realities. Thus, the actual "legitimacy" or "authority" of ALL "laws" is illuminated by both semantics and natural law.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Conservative means supporting the status quo. Returning to a previous status quo is reactionary. Since the first increases of civil rights and liberties, conservatives have sought to return the laws to when individual liberties were not respected unless they conformed with the preferences of the communities.
Publius (San Diego)
As a lawyer especially, I view Trump's judicial picks with great alarm. But presidents have been packing the federal courts with their favorites, cronies included, since John Adams did it to Jefferson. Even these judges are unlikely to be as bad as feared. At least that has been the arc of the federal courts in American life. This article is praiseworthy in its own right for unmasking powerful government officials who otherwise would be largely free to act with anonymity (and still will be). The rule of law will endure but only under the most watchful eyes.
RB (Albany, NY)
You can count on reactionary judges to do one thing and one thing only: wield their authority to actively undermine the downtrodden and bolster extreme corporate power. Just look at what they've recently done with elections. Within just 3 yrs, we had Citizens United, which gave personhood to corporations (TO CORPORATIONS!), and the Shelby decision which effectively neutralized the Voting Rights Act, opening the door for Republicans to deprive poor people and minorities of any say in their democracy, and to lock-in their political advantage. They also recently determined that it's not an 8th amendment violation to sentence someone to decades in prison for shoplifting, and then a few years later stepped in to prevent an insurance company from getting sued for too much money, on 8th amendment grounds. See a pattern? The takeaway: Trump's right that there are Repub judges and Dem judges. If you care about justice, fight at all costs to prevent Republican judges from getting nominated.
Paul King (USA)
This message needs to be said constantly: These judges are being installed because they are willing to block policies that MAJORITIES of Americans support. This is about stifling the will of Americans. That's how to message this. Let's be clear: In poll after poll, Americans lean left on most of the major issues affecting their lives. So, these judges serve to deny Americans what they support. All polling shows Americans support: Taxing the wealthy. Gun safety and sanity. Health care access. Immigration reform. Abortion rights. (support for Planned Parenthood) Environmental and Climate change action. Clean elections free of money corruption. Ending partisan congressional districts. Raising minimum wage. Here's a fact in any fight: Every move your opponent makes leaves them vulnerable to your counter moves. So, here's the move- Turn these judicial appointments into a severe liability for Republicans. Explain, plainly, that these judges are not impartial. That they are picked for one reason: To deny Americans what Americans say they want. Repeat: to deny you what you say you want in this country. Show Americans that the courts are being rigged by Trump to block the policies they want. Show them it's a plot to serve the narrow interests of the powerful against needs of the common person. It is. Let's see if Trump brags about the courts when Americans realize its all about crushing their political will. Always counter your opponents moves.
Will Workman (Vermont)
@Paul King If you are right, and the public not only wants the same things you want but wants them badly, then the next elections should be a piece of cake. But that doesn't matter. Judges are not supposed to look at the polls because their job is to decide what the law says right now, not what we wish it said. "Shall not infringe" doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room, Repeal and replace the laws you don't like; until you do, you can't expect the Courts to ignore them.
Frank L. Cocozzelli (Staten Island)
It is perhaps in economics where these new judges pose the greatest threat to liberty. They will do so by delegating more and more coercive power that rightfully belongs to democratic government into unaccountable private hands. This is why we liberal attorneys needs to develop an organization to match the Federalist Society to nurture future progressive-minded judges. To this end, law schools need to revive teaching the Legal Realism ideas of Robert L. Hale, John M. Clark and Gardiner Means in order to confront these new conservative judges with their fringe laissez-faire views.
Ma (Atl)
Courts should be partisan free - regardless of one's party, courts must (or should) follow existing laws. If judges don't like those laws, they should talk to their representatives to change them; like the rest of us. I see some very liberal appointees from the Obama era, and have no doubt that conservative judges have been/will be appointed by Trump. We should ALL reject partisan judges wherever possible, the courts are NOT the place for activism.
Baxter Jones (Atlanta)
This is what happens when Democrats (and Democratic-leaning independents) don't bother to show for mid-terms in 2010 and 2014, thus giving the Senate to the Republicans and enabling Mitch & his gang to block well-qualified Obama nominees. And, obviously, when just a few thousand voters didn't bother to show up in 2016 due to "the narcissism of small differences" among Democrats.
RH (Andover, MA)
Most of us have been made to believe that conservative ideas are other side of the liberalism and therefore worth treating as equal and should be given equal consideration if not respect. It is worth considering if this view has been one of the reasons why we are always one or more steps behind rest of the world. The founding fathers or brothers, used the flowery language "all men are created equal" but meant only men and only the men with property. That left out bulk of the white people in the country and planted the seed of inequality for people of color. Supreme court had not problem maintaining that unequal order as long as it preserved the power for the powerful white men. Supreme court had no problem being blind to the lynching, discrimination, jim crow laws. It nothing wrong with it and maintained that there was nothing unconstitutional in it. They were right because the constitution had that defect and them being conservative they will leave it up to men of power to change it. What a grand conservative principle. Finally after hundred of years and civil right movements, Supreme Courts conservative judges had to use an obscure "interstate commerce clause" to vote to eliminate lunch count discrimination. List is long, including conservative judges seeing nothing wrong with Japanese internment and now wealth having the right of free speech. This is the history of conservatism. It stands for backwardness and discrimination. Let us pack the court when we get the chance.
Jeff (Denver)
You know what the worst bit is? This is a minority government. Donald Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 election by over 3 million. The unequal representation of state population by states in the Senate tilts the table in a far more Republican direction than the 53-47 split would indicate. From the National Review in 2018, "the 26 smallest states, which together elect a majority of Senate seats, make up only 18 percent of the population". You may be OK with this or not. You may like the non-representative nature of the Senate, or the Electoral College, or you may not. But clearly, by vote tallies, the majority of the people in the U.S. are NOT in favor of the right wing hijacking the judiciary, and Republicans can not, in no way, claim a "mandate" for their actions.
Uncommon Wisdom (Washington DC)
This isn't radical. Recent Supreme Court decisions became law less than five years ago and now it's touted as the "new normal." The "right wing"--which in reality reflects both moderate and conservative thought [on social issues]--is the norm. This was a mischaracterization of reality and the response of the public by the Supreme Court's ignorance of reality. Moreover, the left's "new normal," hurts the traditionally disenfranchised: blacks and disabled people. The poverty rate among both over the past few decades has skyrocketed. Ironically, under the Trump Administration, disabled people have benefitted from a low unemployment rate. The left's focus on [its new social agenda] has hurt the economically disenfranchised. This isn't the new normal.
JFB (Alberta, Canada)
In summary: Republican politicians are better at politics than Democratic politicians.
Juliana Sadock Savino (cleveland)
@JFB I'd substitute "shameless" for "better"
angel98 (nyc)
@JFB Not better at politics. Republicans are better at using power to abuse.
Dadof2 (NJ)
I expect these judges to start ruling that the votes from Democratic precincts are universally "invalid" probably as soon as November 3, essentially rigging the election for Trump. I already see in the decisions and dissents a total disregard for the Constitution and for the rights of individuals. But what I really see is that we, as a nation, by confirming these disregarders of Law and Constitutionality solely to promote the power of the Republicans and Trump, are committing suicide. Biased, partial judges hasten the already disintegrating trust in judicial system. When we KNOW a judge (like Justice Gorsuch) will for a corporation against a worker even when it would cost that worker his or her life, we KNOW there is no Justice. We have seen how Judge Rao dissented from her colleagues with ZERO basis in Law or the Constitution, simply because she doesn't want Trump or the Republicans to lose to Democrats, or even non-Trump judges (I believe one judge was an Obama appointee and the other by Bush '43). Look at what is happening in Poland, Hungary and Brazil. Look what happened in Russia. Then go back at look at how the Weimar Republic collapsed. Kaiser-appointed judges, who hated Democracy and Social Democrats even worse, handed out draconian sentences, but only to the Left. The assassins of Foreign Minister Rathenau in 1922, in any other nation would have gotten the death penalty or life. Instead they got a few years...We all know what happened in 1933....
Victoria Francis (Los Angeles Ca)
These articles today concerning the selection of Judges by the President are extremely disturbing. There should be a way to impeach lifetime judges who are not qualified or are political hacks when hopefully the Democrats regain the power of the Congress and the Presidency. NO one should have a life time appointment without a review process in place.
Joe Rockbottom (California)
@Victoria Francis "There should be a way to impeach lifetime judges " They can be impeached. The constitution provides for impeachment of judges. But it depends on malfeasance, not extreme political views.
Darren (Madrid)
I don't remember the headline about liberal judges 'unleashed' during Obama or Clinton. And it was fine, they were elected and get to make their own picks.
JMT (Mpls)
The headline should have read: "Dark Money Buys the Federal Judiciary" or "Dark Money's Free Speech Stacks the Courts" or "Dark Money trumps Justice." The companion piece could have been an update on AG Barr's unlawful and unethical practices in the Trump Department of Justice.
DaDa (Chicago)
Unfit for office, and the trickle down effect.
Jean (Los Angeles)
Donate to the campaign of Democrat Amy McGrath, in the Kentucky Senate race, as she seeks to unseat Mitch McConnell. She is highly qualified and deserves every Democrats support. I donated $5 on a fixed income. Everyone can do this.
Elizabeth (Colchester, VT)
Hate to say it, but GOP and Mitch have handed liberals a game plan and fate coupled with misrule have handed them a PASSION. Things will be changing.
JHThompson (Oregon)
Trump didn't get them on the court McConnell did. Trump can't name one of them.
Scott Franklin (Arizona State University)
Well, in my view, these "judges" were also impeached with trump. Right? They are only there to protect him. That's it.
Mari (Left Coast)
To Bernie Sanders supporters, who are tweeting and online threatening not to vote in November for Joe Biden if he is the Democrats nominee: THIS is what happens when you don’t vote! Trump wins and our judicial system is flooded with far-right judges, who have a life-long appointments! All who didn’t vote in 2016, own this constitutional crisis.
JoeGiul (Florida)
Hopefully this trend will continue for years to come. We have drifted far from the vision of the founders and the foundation of this republic. Individualism and self responsibility are hardly valued. Godlessness and moral ambiguity are becoming part of the social fabric.
mlbex (California)
@JoeGiul: Imagine a peasant in 17th century Europe taking self-responsibility for the fact that 100 years earlier, his lord's family was given control of all the land nearby, and quickly passed laws forbidding the peasants to move away. You'd better pray that your descendants are part of the aristocracy, because otherwise they will be peasants, unless we figure out a better way to avoid that situation. Rugged individualism is more suitable to the frontier; as more people are packed closer together, collective action becomes a more necessary part of the mix, especially when the current winners end up owning everything that the rest need to live. Not to exonerate the left though... the extremists on each side are too extreme. The proper blend of individual responsibility and collective action is the only rational way forward. As for godlessness, the Constitution clearly separates church and state.
Susan (VA)
@JoeGiul You mean the" Individualism and self responsibility" that corporations use to get huge tax breaks and government money? Those same corporations that refuse to pay a livable wage or benefits? The same corporations that have bought the Republican party and turned America into a 3rd world toilet in the past 40 years? Your God and morals that allows little children to be locked in cages because of their parents? That allows people to go without healthcare? without housing? without food?
Mike B (Ridgewood, NJ)
@JoeGiul Conformity in faith or though was never "the vision of the founders (or) the foundation of this republic." You say: "Individualism and self responsibility are hardly valued." Society is created to help one another. Your state takes more federal dollars to subsides its local taxes than other states. So please, take those values you cherish so much and stop taking cash out of my state for yours.
judgeroybean (ohio)
Every judge who was appointed, at any level, since Mitch McConnell abrogated his constitutional duty to advise and consent in the nomination of Merrick Garland, is illegitimate. Those judges, including Supreme Court justices, are subject to recall by the people. The law should not be shackled for generations because of the actions of congressional gangsters.
Robert Atkinson (Sparta, NJ)
@judgeroybean First, any judge confirmed by the Constitutionally established process is fully legitimate. Send, "...are subject to recall by the people"??? How? What a disastrous thing that would be: the judiciary would be as political as the Legislature. So much for the checks and balances that are working quite well.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@judgeroybean Democrats voted not to confirm Bork, after they put him through the ringer. There was zero probability of Garland gaining 50 votes to confirm [with Biden breaking the tie], much less 60 votes for cloture. What would have been gained by subjecting the leftist Garland to an inquiry when he would not have been confirmed anyway? Democrats held the presidency for 20 years, 1933-1953. The Democrat majority Senate refused to confirm Scotus vacancies by Eisenhower and he made three recess appointments. There was nothing preventing Obama from making a recess appointment when Scalia died: Congress was in recess. It was a cynical misjudgment on Obama's part, who believed he could get more political mileage ranting than making a recess appointment.
Dan (NJ)
@ebmem Nice revisionism. Research Bork and Nixon. Clearly corrupt. Research Garland's record. Centrist as they come.
Ian MacFarlane (Philadelphia)
Judges interpret and dictate the law which if these appointments are considered indicates the actual freedoms we the people of the once United States of America have come to expect are about to be crushed under the heel of Mr Trump and his Republican Senate's appointees. What those who support these policies, and by those I mean members and followers of the Federalist Society, don't get is that they are saddling our children and theirs with a burden that no free society can carry. I lay the blame for this shortsighted and limited view on those intelligent hypocrites who wear the robes and tread the steps of organized religion. In the relatively long history of our so called independent nation the often touted separation of church and state has never been thinner and in fact should properly be considered non existent. We have turned the reins of our once free nation over to slavish believers who raise their voices in defense of freedom for which they have never had any real understanding. The damage has been done and our heirs will live with our abdication of reason.
DipB (SF)
This is a desperate attempt by an out of touch white gentry to usurp power from the will of the people. Judges cannot stop the people’s will, try as you may. The nation has spoken in gay marriage, universal healthcare, women’s rights, equality, and progress. Be warned judges, trying to reverse people’s will and votes have dire consequences
Rogue Warrior (Grants Pass, Oregon)
What is a conservative? Does running up a debt to pave the way for the liquidation of the public estate make one a conservative? Sadly, yes. Does sabotaging elections through Nixon style “dirty tricks” make one a conservative? Yes, again. Does Putin level disinformation makes one a conservative? Yes! Yes! Yes! Who will defend America when there is nothing left to fight for?
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Rogue Warrior Hmm. How is it that Iowa and California were able to delay their primary results long enough to blunt the winners' momentum because the winners were not the anointed one? Why was there no concern about the DNC feeding debate questions to Hillary, hiring thugs to attack Trump supporters and hiring foreign operatives to create a fake dossier? Why is it that the NYT has an article about the Republican operative accused of voter registration fraud but no mention of the four Floridians convicted of voter registration fraud and no mention is made of the convicted ACORN operatives? Could it be that there is no election fraud by Democrats? Why is it that Republicans void an election distorted by ballot harvesting while California allows ballot harvesting?
Blaise Descartes (Seattle)
It is easy to blame the other side. But BOTH political parties have been moving towards the extremes. This article bemoans the fact that Trump appoints liberal judges. But in many ways the courts have been moving further to the left. In particular there is the Me Too Movement. Make no mistake. I agree that Harvey Weinstein belongs in jail, based on what I know, and assuming, as I must, that the jurors deliberated fairly. But most of the Me Too accused don't receive trials, or if they do, they occur long after careers have already been destroyed in the press. Let me give an example. An MIT scientist merely received donations from Jeffrey Epstein. I'm not sure why he should turn down a donation for scientific research from an axe murderer, if there are no strings attached! Yet Ronan Farrow wrote an article in the New Yorker which resulted in the scientist being forced to resign. What's the principle here? The scientist isn't sufficiently revulsed by whatever crimes Epstein has committed? What about the barrister who served Epstein coffee at Starbucks. On this argument, shouldn't he or she also resign? Where does it end? Or consider the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Oh, for just one Democrat to say: There is NO WAY OF KNOWING what happened 35 years ago in high school! There is a reason for statutes of limitations. When they are ignored, a "trial" in the Senate becomes a political travesty. Thus many of us lose confidence in the courts. And the media.
RC (New York, NY)
Most people forget that federal judges are appointed for life. They will only pay attention when there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court. But it is the judges at the district and appellate levels who make and interpret the law, and it is they who scare me the most because the Supreme Court can always decline to hear an appeal. The Trump/McConnell judges, for the most part, are all young "conservative" ideologues, and thus will have the most impact on our civil liberties, no matter your color or political affiliation. While the next president can try to undo what Trump has done in the executive branch, it will take at least two generations to fix what Trump and McConnell have done to the judiciary. Voting affects ALL branches of government. If only those leaning left and left of center could have the fervor and discipline the single-issue Republicans have. We must vote them out!
KI (Asia)
Pros and cons. Yes, they can be effective for even decades, but also for the same amount of time, they will give good chances for Democrats and the media to criticize them and the Republican party whenever they make high profile decisions, which could provide a lot of momentum to Democrats. And of course, there are quite a few elections of several levels during that time.
True Observer (USA)
Judicial interpretation of laws is built into the system. Legislation involves compromise. Often, lawmakers are under pressure to enact a law but can't come to an agreement. To avoid hard votes, they pass the law anyway, knowing it will require judicial interpretation.
Michael N. Alexander (Lexington, Mass.)
Your article cites the Federalist Society’s “advocacy of *strictly interpreting the Constitution*” (emphasis added). That’s conservative-talk, loaded language. Please stop defaulting to advocates’ self-characterizations, leaving the (often) impression they’re accurate.
Dave T. (The California Desert)
Thank you again, Jill Stein voters. Thank you again, pouty, refuse-to-vote non-voters. After all, Republicans and Democrats are just the same, aren't they? Finally, I'd be remiss if I did not thank James Comey and Butter Emails. History will long remember your efforts to place the Federal judiciary in the hands of Opus Dei.
Mari (Left Coast)
Exactly!
Jonathan Katz (St. Louis)
@Dave T. What does Opus Dei have to do with the federal judiciary?
Ellis6 (Sequim, WA)
@Dave T. Commenting in the NY Times, you really should have called out this paper by name for its horrendous coverage of "the emails," as well as its fervent dedication to bothsiderist distortion. What Dean Baquet apparently will never understand is that the paper's obligation is to the truth, rather than to the superficial appearance of fairness. Bothsiderism appears in both the Times and the Post, arguably America's two best newspapers, often in a subtle form that helps hide its destructive effects.
Io Lightning (CA)
While this seems to be a well-researched article, and I'm not faulting the authors, overall to the NYT: too little, too late. People who were actually paying attention knew this was happening behind the noise-machine of trump-inc. But there's been so much hand-wringing and bloviating about every. little. stupid. scandal. and tweet. -- since BEFORE the 2016 election -- that of course the leftwing lost the thread. We did this to ourselves folks. Stop the crazy-making infighting and purity tests and freaking out about the surface-level stupidity. Pay attention to the game that's really being played. And of course, get out the vote.
Stratman (MD)
Blame Harry Reid. He's the one who opened the floodgates in his effort to pack the DC Circuit.
Dennis (Lehigh Valley, PA.)
What seems to be lacking from this very biased article is the reason this shift has happened. Judge Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas!
Suppan (San Diego)
Thank you Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden for stealing all of the intellectual oxygen from the Democratic party.
Observer (washington)
These recent appointees reflect a difference in degree rather than in kind from what has been going on with both Democratic and Republican Administrations for some time. Republican nominees belong to the Federalist Society, while Democratic nominees increasingly belong to the American Constitutional Society. Ideological predictability is important to Democrats and Republicans alike, and presidents of both parties have long ceded control of the nomination process to the activists rather than to their parties' centrists. To be sure, the courts are a casualty of the process, but I'm not sure pointing fingers at one party is helpful, even the situation has deteriorated over the past three years. Are we really going to pretend that Democrats don't have litmus tests and selectively define what is and is not in the mainstream?
Andrea (NJ/NYC)
These conservative, often blatantly unfit-for-office judges is the reason that the very dangerous, lying, narcissistic, blatantly unfit-for-office ignoramus, Trump, is beloved and/or enabled by his supporters. Another four years of this will be the end of US.
gene (fl)
@Andrea Nominate Biden and we will find out.
Jonathan Katz (St. Louis)
@Andrea This temperate and considered criticism of Trump is much appreciated as a contrast to those who reflect his name-calling with name-calling of their own.
Andrea (NJ/NYC)
@Jonathan Katz I almost see your point. Alas, I am merely a considerate citizen made intemperate by the antics of Donald Trump.
moksha (ny)
These people are not representative of the country. Perhaps they can all be impeached and removed.
ohio (Columbiana County, Ohio)
Theocratic fascists. Can anyone come up with a better name for them? The Democrats who sat on their butts in 2016 because HRC did not pass the purity test...are they happy now? Will those Democratic Socialists perform an encore in 2020? I think they will. It is so horribly frustrating because they are enabling everything they are against.
Suppan (San Diego)
@ohio If people "sat on their butts in 2016" blame the candidate. The Captain of the Ship takes the blame. Buck stops at the top. If you put your defensive shields down you will see it is the moderate Democrats who are enabling everything they are against, and they are relatively unaffected by it. For one, most of them are educated, upper-middle class folks - they benefit from the tax cuts Republicans keep passing, - they do not have to fight the ineffective and corrupt wars the Republicans have been indulging in for the last 19 years (even during Obama's terms they were excited to spend more on war, raising the defense budget while cutting the rest of the civilian portions including diplomacy) - they benefit from the exporting of manufacturing jobs to China and keeping bottom wages low in the US - through their stock portfolios and their next wages as middle class "professionals". - while poor folks cannot get family planning or abortion services, the middle class gets it just fine through the mainstream system, their gay kids and trans kids can live their best lives On and on. It is the moderates who by their lack of spine, laziness to tolerate thoughtful and deep campaigning, and inexperience in getting their hands dirty to build something meaningful in a perfect world who are the problem. When they lose elections, they get jobs in Google and Amazon. Win when you lose. Drive a large SUV and complain about Climate Change. Look in the mirror and take stock.
Mary Rivkatot (Dallas)
Vote for Biden. Vote Democratic.
Piotr Ogorek (New York)
And elect Trump !
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Not one of these stooges was even asked what they think "an establishment of religion" means in the first amendment to the Constitution. So now they will dictate their infantile state's rights slavery-justifying religion to everyone for the rest of their lives.
ABC (Flushing)
Liberal judges usually let criminals go free with little or no punishment as long as the criminal acts humbled. Conservatives do the same for white collar criminals
Piotr Ogorek (New York)
I’d rather have a white collar criminal running around than a murderer or rapist. Thank you very much.
DeKay (NYC)
@ABC: You're so right. The Conservatives in the Obama Administration gave all the bankers a pass after the last financial crisis. None went to jail. Because they were all on the same side: that of the bankers. ABC, easy as one two three.
Infinite observer (Tennessee)
The fact is that conservatives play the long game. The right wing had been planning to take over the courts since the late 1970s. it started with Bakke in 1978 and their sinister efforts have finally reached fruition with Trump. While the left has been occupied with how to spell certain names like women vs womyn or noise pollution, saving wally the whale, tweeting incessantly on twitter of what blackface photo or, sexist, racist, homophobic some now influential person made while they were in their 20s or early 30s etc... the conservative right has successfully implemented the right wing judicial dynasty they have longed for. Sad.
Dennis (Lehigh Valley, PA.)
@Infinite observer Funny, it was G. H. W. Bush who gave us Justice David Souter, and G. W. Bush who tried to give us Harriet Miers!
Jonathan Katz (St. Louis)
@Infinite observer Bakke was a plaintiff, not a judge. He lost his case.
Dennis (Lehigh Valley, PA.)
@Jonathan Katz Jonathan, I believe Bakke won his case, but it turned into a split decision keeping AA alive.
John A. (Santa Monica)
Carl Schmitt would thoroughly approve of these appointees. Imagine it is 1929 in Germany. Everything is in place to declare “the exception” and totally undermine the “liberal” in liberal democracy. This is not normal.
Doña Urraca de Castilla (Missouri)
I had the opportunity to witness hearings by conservative judges where the judge, at the sight of a Hispanic defendant, ruled against him without even taking a look at the case. What I find most interesting is how these racists, these ridiculously biased people can claim to be “judges”, and to be “defending the Constitution.” What a joke. What a sad, sorry joke.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
@Doña Urraca de Castilla You mean no witnesses or documents?
gc (chicago)
Not only is the electoral college extinct but the senate needs extinction as well.... the first 2 primaries/caucus' lacked the true balance of what we are as a country..... it was a waste of time and threw out the cadidates of "color" very quickly..... we should be embarrassed
Rachel Quesnel (ontario,canada)
Beware conservatives for Donald Trump's selfish reasons for doing these appointees is not for your protection but his, Donald Trump is a corrupt non-conservative, elitist who does not care about you and yours, you commit the same crimes you will find yourselves indicted, and most likely convicted, lives ruined. At the end of the day, his strategy will backfire as it presently is doing, many of his cases that are on the appellate circuits are in the process of being heard and his losses are grand for any Judiciary must and shall conform to legislation written by the Constitution, all legislations are written for all peoples of the Democracy, he is learning that quick, many say if you are wealthy you always win, in his case, he had a sister MaryAnne Barry who was able to manipulate his circumstances but since she was involved in a scheme perpetrated by the Donald and was undergoing Judicial Ethics Investigations she was forced to retire if that was your case retirement would not dissolve you of the crime only statutes of limitations, not all justices be they conservative or liberal can escape legislation and if found to have committed any infractions can be impeached and then arrested, Trump has no conscience as he shows during this crisis case and point if he cared about you as a human or as a voter he would change his habits and show sincerity and transparency, he is an abusive compulsive liar, his comment of having been tested for the virus is bogus, he wants the media gone.
H Munro (Western US)
“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.” ― Bertrand Russell
Portergiles (Washington DC)
Of course the appointees are disproportionately white men because the pool of solidly conservative lawyers is disproportionately white men.
Iced Tea-party (NY)
A conservative is a kind of wacko, ideological and uncritical. To think of the judiciary filled to the prime with some of the most ignorant, dishonorable, truth twisting, and mendacious people in the country is staggering to behold.
Piotr Ogorek (New York)
Educated at Harvard Yale Georgetown Cornell Princeton Brown etc.
Lady4Real (Philadelphia)
@Piotr Ogorek And we now know for sure that this means nothing when you can buy an education and a diploma at the most prestigious universities especially.
Iced Tea-party (NY)
@Piotr Ogorek We know that the high achieving Republican judge or justice—Thomas, Roberts, Kavanaugh—is a walking politicized freakshow, who can’t differentiate the Constitution from a salamander, twisty, and jerky; and embarrassingly stupid all the more for having passed through Harvard or Yale without the slightest respect for facts, objectivity, justice, fairness, or elementary integrity.
Peter Aterton (Albany)
I want to know if President Trump will Pardon the Turkey coming Thanksgiving this year?
Tonjo (Florida)
@Peter Aterton I don't think that Trump will have any time to pardon the turkey this year simply because he will be on his way out of office after the elections.
Sherry (Washington)
Most people don't know what "conservative" judges means. To most it just means "Republican", i.e. people on my team. At most they think it means reversing Roe v Wade, but even there they do not know that the Republican party platform now has no exceptions for rape, incest, or life of the mother which it used to have. Most Republican women I know support such exceptions. If people knew what conservative really means they would be hard-pressed to approve of their values. Throughout history they have been on the wrong side of the law. Conservatives in the time of torture opposed laws to outlaw it. Conservatives in the time of Galileo convicted him of heresy and condemned him to house arrest. Conservatives have always been anti-science. Fox News gave nearly 70% of its airtime to climate science deniers. Conservatives disbanded the epidemic response team. Conservatives have always been on the side of the rich and powerful and against lowly peons who demand a living wage and sick leave and safety in the workplace. They opposed outlawing slavery. They outlawed contraception. They are always dragged into the future kicking and screaming. Conservatives think society can never be improved, when in fact, there is always room for extending the values of the better angels of our nature, and the basic values in the Constitution. Strict constructionism is just the esoteric and malleable legal principle they use to defend their bigoted, regressive, and punitive interpretation of the law.
timit (We)
FOX News is foreign propaganda like RT. Why is a foreigner allowed to present fiction to the gullible and call it news? Only in America.
Andy Makar (Hoodsport WA)
This whole idea of originalism is sort of nuts. The Founders were more diverse in their thinking than the Federalist Society gives them credit for. And they were not some sort of prophets. How would anyone know what Hamilton or Jefferson would think of the reality we have created economically and technologically? What do you do? Hold a séance? Get a conjurer to summon up their spirits? None of these people actually know. What they know is what they envision the Founders saying. These judges and justices are not protecting the Constitution. Even if they think they are. A Constitutional analysis that cannot distinguish between the US of 1787 and 2020 is doomed to failure. And then what? Do they really want the folks in 20XX to be the new Founders? Doesn't that do more to undermine the Constitution than anything else?
J. Waddell (Columbus, OH)
@Andy Makar Have your already forgotten all the originalist arguments made by the Democratic managers during the impeachment trial?
Newsbuoy (Newsbuoy Sector 12)
If he should stay at home today for fear. No, Caesar shall not. Danger knows full well That Caesar is more dangerous than he.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
How distorted does apportionment have to get before it is undeniably a complete travesty?
NorthXNW (West Coast)
The judiciary should be non-biased and represent all Americas, yet reading thru some of the comments herein I am led to believe many believe the courts should be comprised of liberals and only liberals. Their proclamation: vote blue no matter who. Liberals who vote blue, no matter who, do the country and their fellow citizen no service.
Dennis (Lehigh Valley, PA.)
@NorthXNW Were the Liberal Democrats non-biased concerning Bork and Thomas? How about Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh? Yet the Republicans voted for RBG, Breyer, Kagan. and Sotomayor! Duh, am I missing something here?
Teddy Chesterfield (East Lansing)
If Democrats sweep in November, they have to write legislation that withstands Republican challenge. But if, say, an expansion of existing Medicare law or a broadening of the tax base is overturned, they must be regarded as obviously political. Moreover, the withdrawal of rights - gay marriage - now seen as widely acceptable will have to be viewed as a radical judicial attack on social order. There are remedies for such behavior through court reorganization Democrats can't be afraid to pursue.
Lawrence (Ridgefield)
If and when the Democrats are able to name Federal justices, will they be able to install their appointments in the numbers to offset the current bias? They probably won't be able to pack the SC, but the lower courts are fair game.
Sean (The Bull City (Durham))
This is the phenomenon that Ross Douthat succinctly describes in his book, “The Decadent Society.” In an era where special interest groups and vulture-like lobbyists muddy the legislative system, it’s nary possible to pass substantial referendums on existing laws, let alone pass original bills. In order to work around this insidious form of externally-influenced gridlock, one appoints judges that are pliable to one’s own ambitions, policy direction, and overall ideology. Mr. Douthat laments that this trend is symptomatic of decadence and furthermore, stagnation. Unless we see “structural change” (as Ms. Warren wonkily describes it), this will be the norm for decades, if not centuries.
RCJCHC (Corvallis OR)
System is set up to allow this. Systemic problem that we must eradicate! Another nail in the coffin of democracy.
Uncommon Wisdom (Washington DC)
Its encouraging to see commenters supporting the return to normalcy that appointing non-leftist judges represents. The lurch to the left during the Obama Administration pushed many centrists out of the Democratic party.
KD Lawrence (Nevada)
Time for a constitutional amendment to move the "Advice and Consent" power from the Senate to the House so the people's body can control appointments --- put real democracy back in action.
51years is enough (Port Washington NY)
The judicial system another (and unelected and unremovable) legislature? Per this article (and the obvious voting patterns on the Supreme Court), judges appointed by Democrats vote/rule one way, those appointed by Republicans the other way. What’s wrong with that picture? Judges are supposed to decide points of law, not insert their policy preferences (that’s the purview of Pelosi, McConnell and their ilk. I don’t think The Times recognizes the real significance of this article.
Gregory West (Brandenburg, Ky.)
The Walter Cronkite Republican notes again that for twenty years the Republicans' have ruthlessly exploited flawed elections in which they did not win popular majorities to force their extreme minority policies upon the rest of us. They also thwarted at every opportunity the intervening Democratic President who had won indisputable mandates. This is particularly evident in their corruption of the US Judiciary from the Supreme Court down by the confirmation of extreme and unqualified appointees.
Gustavo (Hoboken)
This is great news. Trump voters voted for Trump because he promised to put conservative judges and justices on the courts. He has kept his promise in spades. Hopefully, trumps reelection will allow him to install a conservative majority on the courts for decades to come. Harry Reid got rid of the filibuster rule because Harry Reid knew that the next president would be a Democrat, namely Hillary Clinton. His Hubris has proved to be a disaster for the left. As for the ABA, for the last several decades it is tilted noticeably towards the left. Their judicial Recommendationsare are being ignored and should be ignored by any conservative president just as liberal presidents ignore the recommendations of the Federalist Society. Elections do have consequences and the conservatives won The last one.
Chicago Guy (Chicago, Il)
Ensuring that judges put political considerations above everything else is a prerequisite for establishing any kind of dictatorship. Reshaping the judiciary from an independent branch of government into a partisan political one, as they have recently done in Poland, is a necessary step if you want to destroy the equality guaranteed by the rule of law, and replace it with the inequality tyranny and corruption. Once the court are corrupted, politicians are free to "enact" whatever laws garner them the ever increasing power they desire. If you want to suspend term limits for example - a Constitutional bulwark against authoritarianism - then, just as Erdogan and Putin have recently done, you need a puppet judiciary. With an self-serving insatiable lust for power, the GOP has been diligently pursuing a subservient judiciary for over 50 years now. And they are about 95% of the way to getting it. There can be little doubt that if Trump gets his second term, either through voter ignorance or straight out theft, his first order of business will be to end term limits. This is not a hypothetical, it's an absolutely certainty. And he will need the help of the courts to do it. And I have precious little doubt at this juncture that he would succeed in doing so. The end of term limits is the headstone that sits above the grave of every government based on self-determination. And it's the flag the waves over the empire of every dictator.
timit (We)
The Electoral College was set up 222 years ago for 13 entites to elect a President. Virginia controlled a quarter of the votes. It was never representative of a majority of Citizen's interests. There must be a revolution toward cumulative voting. People who work and consume need an Amendment for direct elections, possibly tied to revising #14 to insure only Citizens can give birth to new Citizens
Rep de Pan (Whidbey Island,WA)
All you folks who didn't vote in 2016 or decided you were a "purist" and voted for Jill Stein, stand up and take a bow for your "help" in achieving this McConnell/Trump accomplishment.
ric (miami, fl)
@Rep de Pan Every morning when I get out of bed I thank the all mighty that Trump is our president and in charge.
Rep de Pan (Whidbey Island,WA)
@ric That's what's great about a free country, Ric-whatever floats your boat. But if I believed the Almighty was really up there, I think I'd thank Him for waking up and having another day instead of a "gracias" for Trump.
RB (Albany, NY)
Valid point, but the same can be said about those of you who support the contemptible Wall Street Dems like Clinton & Biden. Maybe we need an visionary like Bernie (or Stein)
DSD (St. Louis)
They are destroying America.
PaulB67 (South Of North Carolina)
This is a marvelous example of in-depth reporting, strengthened by the use of data metrics. However, I believe the main point -- the takeaway -- might be obscured. What the Republicans are doing, using entities like the Federalist Society, is transforming the federal judiciary into a partisan, extremely conservative branch of government. The Republican Party and its many pressure groups own this assault on the Rule of Law. These groups are imposing on the nation a predetermined, starkly biased "litmus test" for judicial nominees: an ludicrous "originalist" interpretation of Constitutional jurisprudence that seeks to puts words in the mouths of the Founding Fathers which justify everything from the denial of gender rights to the scourge of gun ownership. Yes, when the Democrats control the Senate, theirr nominees tend to be progressive. But the Democrats have never tried such an organized assault on the separation of powers and the independence of the judicial branch. Even worse, Federalist Society-trained judges like Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were trained and rehearsed to obscure their true conservative philosophies in their testimonies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. They didn't lie, exactly, but they didn't offer the truth of their convictions, either. Trump is the useful idiot in this scheme. His election gave the GOP just the President it needed to pull off this deceit. Working with McConnell, the Republicans are bending the arc of justice backwards.
Don Wiss (Brooklyn, NY)
Has Trump placed any African-Americans on the federal bench? How many compared to the number Obama and Bush placed?
David Henry (Concord)
The Democrats will right the ship in 2021.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@David Henry: Every theocratic judge is another impeachment trial to remove.
IndependentVoter (Phoenix)
@David Henry Right! It is not being righted, right now? Righty-o!
Steve (NYC)
Trump proved one thing ignore, ignore, ignore! We just won’t listen to the illegitimate SCOTUS. It won’t matter anyway....COVID 19 will make Katrina look like the best vacation you’ve ever taken.
skepto (lala)
Another promise keptvand fulfilled by the president.
Susan (VA)
@skepto Another nail in the coffin of American democracy, and the death of the middle class. 99% of us will be poor.
Farmersam (oklahoma)
The pendulum swings. Always has, always will. Being a Yellow Dog Democrat myself....I'm sorta dismayed by the current state of affairs. I find myself blaming my own party. The change began in the Clinton years. To this day, all a "Centrist" means to me is a Republican in sheeps clothing. The Party began distancing itself from the very people that it was supposed to represent. Working people. Downtrodden people. FDR was a man of privilege, but realized that sustaining the privileged class, meant taking care of the working class. The backbone of the Nation. Somewhere along the line, the Party lost its way. I cringed when Hillary called the opposition "deplorables" Gawd what a stupid statement. Talk about alienating people......when the stakes are so high. If you're upset about the judicial system, and the way it's going...….Get out there, and vote. AND TALK TO YOUR PARTY LEADERS. The party can't survive in the urban centers alone. Quit making the people you need, feel inadequate. Want reasonable judges? Learn how to talk to the people you need to make it happen. And.....listen to them. Can't go out at election time, and talk to black folks, or blue collar folks...…..and ignore them after November. People aren't stupid. Disenfranchisement is a powerful feeling.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Farmersam: The working people who voted for Reagan killed their own labor unions.
Martina (Chicago)
Oh come on now. Justice Roberts says that judges only “call balls and strikes.” You are not saying that these 51 Federalist Society appointed judges are going to use their personal prejudices against abortion or gay rights to decide cases?
James Rivera (USA)
That is *exactly* what they are saying. But it is actually much, much worse than that. Checks on the president’s power are being removed. If this is allowed to proceed, you can bet the rules around presidential term limits will be changed, and the next “president” will have the last name of “Trump” or “Kushner” and will go back and forth like that for decades. Look at Russia’s political system; that is the model being attempted.
peapodesque (nyack new york)
The descent into facism, is like none other any recorded history. This anti-christ villainous man is on the verge of changing the face of justice forever . If he gets 4 more years through gerrymandering , voter suppression and russian interference, we are most certainly doomed. My plan is immediate exodus from the US, which I have sacrificed my whole life, only to see it dismantled. This defecator in chief should be tried ( assuming he only has one term) by the southern district of NY, and spend the rest of his miserable life behind bars.
Tanksleyd (Philadelphia)
By & large I place blame On Ms. Jill Stein
David (South Carolina)
@Tanksleyd Bernie and his bros deserve some of that blame as well.
IndependentVoter (Phoenix)
@Tanksleyd How novel! We must not stop blaming Trump for everything - everything is his fault (and those despicable deplorables that keep cheering him on)!
jp (texas)
It is troubling to realize how powerfully effective the Federalist society has been in reshaping the judiciary but let's not get too doomsday about this - the Supreme Court has at various points in history been either a powerful mechanism of social change or an immovable barrier to keep power away from people, e.g. Lochner v. NY where the court, upholding the ruling class, decided that a poor worker had the "right" to contract equally with his employer therefore states could not impede the "bargaining" by imposing hours and other worker protection laws.
IndependentVoter (Phoenix)
@jp Your "troubling" is another's "comforting". After 40 years of being short shrifted through off-shoring, globalization, illegal and legal immigration, and incessant cultural bullying, the working class of America has its new Lochner v. NY in today's Donald Trump and the Federalist Society.
angel98 (nyc)
@IndependentVoter The working class voted to bust the unions: Regan; voted to allow Trump to decimate their farms and livelihood; voted for the end of medical insurance for the uninsured and preexisting conditions; voted for tax-payer money to be funneled to the top 1%; voted to reduce & deny benefits for the working class. Voted not to increase hourly wages. There is a long list of things that the working class have voted for to their detriment. Businesses owners (incl. Trump) out sourced work to get cheaper labor with no labor laws. No government forced them to do that. Although reduced labor laws are coming soon to a place near you via Trump's deregulations. Corporations make a huge profit with deregulation, at the cost of the well-being of the working class. I agree, government has to do much more for the working class. Where are the plans to offer education to address new technology that is taking over. Where is the massive investment into struggling areas, the new deals to make life more than a struggle to survive? Infrastructure? As for workdays/overtime, Dejoy (trump's pick) nixed it for postal workers. I am curious how does the Federalist society improve quality of life, access to education and health insurance. How does it offer freedom & dignity for more people? How does it make every vote count when it approved massive amounts of dark money to flood the elections. As for cultural bullying it is always wrong, but Trump is the lead pied piper for that too.
RCJCHC (Corvallis OR)
Looks like our system to appoint judges is at fault. Perhaps we should have some checks and balances so no one president can "stack" the courts?? Duh.
GMooG (LA)
@RCJCHC We do have such checks and balances. In the case of federal judges, the President nominates, but subject to confirmation by the Senate. So there are checks and balances, but the trick -- and this is what eludes Dems and the authors of this article -- is that you have to win elections.
David (Seattle)
@RCJCHC "Stack" makes no sense. They are filling positions, not putting more justices on the same court like with SCOTUS, as stacking is now a D plan.
pb (calif)
Whether they are qualified or not!!
BB (Colorado)
The very best thing about Trump the president. With more to come...
Susan (VA)
@BB Apparently to be Republican means to be anything but "Christian". These right wing judges have been destroying the American middle class for 4 decades now.
Angela (Midwest)
If you don't vote you get what you deserve.
Sage (California)
This is a McConnell-Trumpian nightmare. These largely unqualified, incompetent judges will undermine democracy for decades to come. They will rule in favor of the rich and powerful and shun the working class, the environment and a woman's right to choose. All of the gains that we've made over the past 60 plus years are under threat now. ANOTHER reason to make sure that Mafia-Don doesn't get another term to destroy democracy. And McTreason--he must be voted out of office, and the Senate MUST turn blue!!! Imperative!!
William Geller (Vermont)
American ingenuity at work In Manchester, Vt., the Wilburton, a 30-acre estate with an inn and private rental villas, was making itself available to those without second homes, announcing on its website: “As the Von Trapp Family singers fled Austria to the healing mountains of Vermont, please know you always have a safe space here too. Pack up your family and escape the panic, crowds and empty market shelves. (We have plenty of toilet paper here!)”
somebody (somewhere)
The McConnell legacy will include not only right wing judges but ABA rated unqualified Trump nut jobs. But this has little to do with Trump. McConnell kept the positions open. McConnell Rams them through. The Trump legacy is that of being the FATHER of the US Covid19 outbreak. Just as Trump cast Obama as the father of ISIS for his administration's delayed reaction and reference to ISIS as the B team, Trump owns his administration's delay on Covid19 and his reference to the outbreak as a democratic hoax.
IndependentVoter (Phoenix)
@somebody Trump stopped flights from China very early in the game - to the usual chorus of hate, condemnation, and racist accusations from the left.
Scott (Canada)
You have an entire culture devoted to framing the “left” and tearing it down - very effectively. I’m not so sure the whole “they go low we go high” approach will work - as they seem to do very well in the muck. The left had better learn how to fight a little dirtier and how to get it’s foot on the neck of right wing insanity and not take it off. Otherwise my money is on the left being beaten consistently despite good intentions. Never underestimate the ignorant.
ShenAnno (Shenandoah Valley, Va.)
OK, New York Times. Keep going. Don’t stop. One story a day about these judges — just one judge a day — and what they have done until Nov. 3. Make it heard. Make it known. Keep doing the journalism. Beat the drum. Thank you.
Piotr Ogorek (New York)
And thank God Trump will be our President for another term !
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
A minor error, I believe: The Appellate Courts are not "also known as circuits", they are known as the Court of Appeals for the Nth Circuit. The Circuit is the whole region under that appellate court, including the district courts of the region.
Bob Guthrie (Australia)
Trump: “95% Approval Rating in the Republican Party,” he wrote on Twitter in January. “Thank you! 191 Federal Judges (a record), and two Supreme Court Justices, approved. " Now where have we seen over 90% endorsements before? Mugabe's Zimbabwe Idi Amin's Uganda Papa Doc's Haiti Kim's North Korea etc etc It is not normal to get over 90% approvals or endorsements. It is not human. When you see 90% it is a totalitarian state every time.
Stephen (NYC)
So these judges will rule against the will of the people. I'm sure most of them have a theocratic agenda, which is totally un-American. I think religion is one of the biggest problems in the country right now. What's good about religion, is overshadowed by what's bad about it. All religions were man-made to control people. They're all fake.
DeKay (NYC)
"Two-thirds of the new appellate judges failed to win the support of 60 senators, historically a requirement of consensus that was first jettisoned by the Democratic-controlled Senate midway through the Obama administration . . ." Ain't it funny how things come back to bite you?
Marianne (California)
Corona Virus and now this.....It is very hard not get depressed. The only hope VOTE for Democrats!
Kevin (New York, NY)
What the Liberal “Progressive” Left in this country doesn’t seem to understand is, extremes breed extremes.
angel98 (nyc)
@Kevin I will never understand why people think that wanting everyone to have access to health care; a good education; equality in law; the right to a dignified life; tolerance and compassion; clean air and water; judged by the content of their character not punished by the color of their skin, their gender, their faith, their life-style, their economic level; freedom for all (you can't have freedom without responsibility), are considered "extreme". And much less why progressive is a curse word, a fear, for so many. All these things are the norm in many a successful, capitalist, democratic and developed country, and they have been proven to work to the benefit, well-being and positive evolution of society. Only in the service of protecting tyrannical rule, which dismisses and harms the majority of people forces them into its worldview, halts positive progress in its tracks, are any of these things considered extreme, extreme because they threaten the overweening power of a few to reap benefit from the many.
magicisnotreal (earth)
To have "conservative credentials" is to say you are corrupt and dishonest. All of these "positions" are adopted positions not points of view that can be supported with reason. There is the difference between "conservative" politicians and the rest of us. They adopt a position for whatever reason and the rest of us come to a point of view because of the lived reality of our lives and the effort we put into thinking about others. Look up the Slate article about former judge James Dannenberg. He wrote a letter to Justice Roberts explaining why he is resigning from the Supreme Court Bar. It's a doozy. It nails down everything that is wrong with the "conservative" movement. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/03/judge-james-dannenberg-supreme-court-bar-roberts-letter.html
Tom Bartlett (Philadelphia)
A former judge resigned from the Supreme Court Bar on Wednesday. In a detailed letter to Chief Justice John Roberts, he detailed why he’s lost faith in the court . You can see the full text at the link below, but here is a portion of the letter: “ ...I believe that the Court majority, under your leadership, has become little more than a result-oriented extension of the right wing of the Republican Party, as vetted by the Federalist Society. Yes, politics has always been a factor in the Court’s history, but not to today’s extent. Even routine rules of statutory construction get subverted or ignored to achieve transparently political goals. The rationales of “textualism” and “originalism” are mere fig leaves masking right wing political goals; sheer casuistry.” (Worth reading the whole letter!) https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/03/judge-james-dannenberg-supreme-court-bar-roberts-letter.html
garyv (Seattle)
Frankly, we need to declare this an illegitimate presidency and remove every one of them, including the supreme court nominations. This is obscene.
Norville T. Johnston (New York)
@garyv Who is "we" ? Under what authority will this happen ?
Doña Urraca de Castilla (Missouri)
Investigative scholar Ann Nelson wrote an amazingly informative book, “Shadow Network.” I recommend it to understand our current state of politics. A real eye opener.
True Observer (USA)
Blame the Establishment. If it hadn't been so vicious in attacking Trump, before and after the election, he wouldn't be out to rub their noses in it Conservative Memory Lane: Warren Court Miguel Estrada Robert Bork David Souter In your face Ted Kennedy In your face Harry Reid Republicans holding their breath hoping a Republican President wouldn't appoint a liberal judge
magicisnotreal (earth)
@True Observer Nope this was the plan of McGahn all along. With the full support of the GOP extra governmental government workers in their shadow government industry.
magicisnotreal (earth)
@True Observer I guarantee you that every single thing a federal or state government has done that has hurt you personally was done by a republican conservative to punish you for being you.
angel98 (nyc)
@True Observer Oh please! Enough of the whining and playing the victim card. Why is it always someone else's fault and never his? Trump piled on with the nastiness and viciousness from day one. If you go back in time you will note that he was given a chance to change his ways, given a lot of leeway, given the respect accorded to the office, but he just couldn't stop himself from being vindictive, cruel, divisive and revengeful. And 'rubbing noses' in it, is so puerile and petty, and shows an appalling lack of character and maturity.
Kathy (Somewhere)
That is quite a gallery. Portraits of Mendacity.
Camp Ogre (West Grove, PA)
Mitch likes coal. He likes Russian investments. He likes “Leave it To Beaver” and “Father knows Best”. And when Boss Trump came to town, he smiled approvingly. The backward approach he had established in the Senate would be institutionalized across the land and far into the future.
DAL (New York NY)
Be more precise with your language. This is not a “conservative” agenda. This is a radical right wing agenda whose purpose is to roll the USA back to the status quo that existed in the Gilded Age, if not before the Civil War, substituting installment debt for chattel slavery. The term “conservative” is meaningless in today’s discourse and is used only to obfuscate, not clarify.
Thomas David (Paris)
In the rush to end the Democratic Primary, let us all go back to Senator Biden's handing of the Clarence Thomas, Amita Hill questioning. And how Senator Biden facilitated the conservative Court we have. NOW.
T (Ad astra)
This, more than anything else in his presidency, makes me disheartened and makes me consider leaving the US for another country. The legacy of this shameless power grab will follow us long after this terrible mistake of an election is righted (if it is at all).
Able (Tennessee)
Thank you Harry Reid for changing the Senates rules just in time to welcome a Republican majority. With your lying about Romney on the senate floor you may have got a President re-elected but judicial appointments last much longer.
drollere (sebastopol)
say what you want. most of the cases these judges will hear have little political valence. dog bites man, corporate trademarks, and who gets what part of the multibillion dollar estate. so long as selfie nation has its cheeseburgers and SUVs, we'll still be livin' large.
DBloom (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Comey's actions in the weeks before the 2016 election and the constant drumbeat of Clinton's emails by the NY Times have had consequences. Our nation pays the price daily.
Sky Pilot (NY)
The GOP's actions have nothing to do with justice. They are a cynical, mean-minded gaming of the system.
Denis (Brussels)
This is why we need to stop underestimating President Trump. Liberals try to portray him as incompetent, even stupid. The reality is that he has so much more in 3 years than most presidents achieve in 8 years. The tragedy is that what he has achieved has been so terrible: - destroyed the EPA - set climate-change back a decade which could be crucial. - ruined the international relations network that dedicated diplomats had spent their entire careers building. - removed basic social protection from huge swathes of the population. - created courts that will blindly support conservative causes "loyally" regardless of the will of the people or Congress ... - made a few very very very rich people even richer, at the expense of everyone else's future. - focused his response to Covid-19 on the two most important points: his own imagine/reectability and protecting the stock-market, rather than on limiting the spread of the virus. - etc ... But if you view his presidency from the perspective of someone who thinks all these are good things, he has been phenomenally successful. Let's be honest, we all wish Obama had been as daring, as indifferent to opposition, as ambivalent to bipartisanship ... So we can despise and ridicule Trump all we want, but let's not underestimate the damage he is doing and continues to do, or his ability to do even more damage, by any means possible!
A Rational Man (NYC)
@Denis Unfortunately, it is much easier to destroy than to build.
Pete (Boonville)
As a blue collar “regular guy”, I no longer have any faith that “justice is blind”. Trump views the law as either a hindrance or a weapon, and he sees himself as above the law. He wants the law to serve his views and goals....period. The number one priority of Republicans, in a changing demographic, is to preserve power. They will stop at nothing, especially McConnell. The pinnacle of that effort would be to replace RBG and Breyer. If that happens, you can kiss many civil and environmental rights goodbye. The court will champion corporatism and social conservatism, and the rest of us can pound sand. Those replacements would specifically be young so they could impose their will for decades. Trump once complained about an “Obama judge”. Well, a 7-2 “Trump” SCOTUS would really be no court at all, just a rubber stamp.
george eliot (annapolis, md)
The biggest problem is that a majority of these right-wing hacks have been found "unqualified" by the American Bar Association. The ABA is not exactly a "liberal" organization.
GMooG (LA)
@george eliot 100% wrong. The ABA is a VERY liberal organization.
LFDJR (San Francisco)
Seems to me that American law schools bear responsibility for the creation of lawyers who are disrespectful toward the intellectual integrity of the Judiciary and who favor the money class. For decades now, many universities and law schools have honored their wealthy alumni rather than those who achieved success by their intellect, character, integrity and accomplishments (other than getting rich somehow). What a horrible example for law students.
Paulie (Hunterdon Co NJ)
A Dem POTUS would have done the same thing Trump has done , the exact same thing. All this hand writing over his judicial appointments is nothing more than sour grapes.
Cynthia McDonough (Naples, Fl.)
And remember, many of Dump’s appointees were deemed “not qualified” by the ABA. Enough said!
GMooG (LA)
@Cynthia McDonough The ABA is a political organization, not a legal one. When they rate a candidate as "not qualified," that means "not liberal."
D Schultz (New York)
Such is the case when a conservative (ultra) factor rules the Senate along with a conservative (ultra, perhaps facist) President. This is the reason it is most important to 1. Un-elect Trump (either impeachement or electorally) 2. Regain at the least, the Senate. It's great having the "purse-strings" in the House (we've seen how Presidents Dem and Repub have circumvented that), but the Senate is where the true "Power" is for the next 2 generations...
R. Anderson (South Carolina)
Calling rigid people "judges" is a misnomer. I personally identify everybody who calls themselves "originalist," conservative, liberal as under-informed and just plain biased. Mature, sentient citizens know there are many facets to an issue - not just the one or two that make somebody money or "popular." But that's what we have to deal with in politicians and judges, sellouts, sycophants and egotists.
Mark (South Philly)
Borders have come under assault by progressives recently. Maybe a conservative court has saved America in light of recent viral developments? Just a thought.
Joe (Ketchum Idaho)
This is where the real Trump damage is.
BillC (Chicago)
This warps the political and social landscape in a way that will set the stage for significant unrest. When a plurality of society is blocked from reform, they will seek a remedy. The courts need to reflect the majority sentiment in a balanced way. This process of balancing the courts has been degraded and we are going to pay a big price. We are reliving the 1920-1930s and the rise of fascism. We have our 1918 pandemic, massive wealth disparity, economic and ecological instability, the rise of ultra-right white Christian nationalism (aka the US Republicans Party) that uses military might for religious objectives (Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq), Christian alignments in the Middle East to fulfill Christian prophesies, builds walls to keep out Southern Hemisphere brown and black people and band Muslims from entering the country. Oh, the Museum of the Bible next the capitol. The stages is being set.
How Much Is Enough? (Northeast)
Republicans just do it without asking permission or apologizing. Obama reaches across the isle year after year to ensure republicans had their input and decided against war crime investigations for the Bush administration. Patterns of begging, apologizing or inaction (Merrick Garland). Now we have Biden who voted for the war, glass-steagall removal and open borders for unlimited H1B visas. He’s part of the Clinton/Obama Wall Street gang. Biden and Democrats want dignity in the White House. That is dignity on the outside but pernicious policies on the inside -blue dog Democrats for a corporatocracy. We need a progressive party with a bold vision for social democracy and planet sustainable for all life forms. We need to win and stop moving to the soft safe flabby middle. Our democracy has diabetes and money is the sugar causing the disease.
Mister Ed (Maine)
Thanks for the roadmap to a white Christian theocracy. It was thought that the Reformation solved the problem of the clerics running society. Well, belief in fairy tales continues to drive far too much of the agenda in the US where white, male oligarchs continue to use (and abuse) the church to maintain their control over society.
t (Austin)
Seems strange to me that “conservative” to this administration is everything but Conservative ...president with former wives,appointing those that fight against traditional values, enacting programs that those in administration jump on to make money from the government, changing the public school system, telling lies and other moral wrongs according to conservative religion and just plane honesty . Grandpa said “a mans word is his bond “ where in this administration can one find a true honest conservative?
Bodyman (Santa Cruz, Ca)
If this criminal madman gets re-elected, we may have to replace the Supreme Courts robes with ones with a white hood on them. And if the Republicans keep the Senate too, McConnell may well push through two extremists so far out of the mainstream as to render the Court an irrelevant bad joke and just another lackey for the furtherance of Trump’s mania. It underlines the extreme importance of electing Joe Biden, or whoever becomes the Democratic nominee, and ending Republican control of the Senate. The continued existence of our Democracy may well depend on it.
Gary (Australia)
So vacancies arose that needed to be filled - isn't that why Pres. Trump has appointed more judges than Obama over the same period? And surely, Roe v Wade and killing the unborn is not the ONLY issue these judges will handle, although a lot of commentators seem to think it is the only important one.
MDS (Virginia)
Trump is, perhaps, guided by his sister, a retired conservative Federal Judge. All in the family, with Trump.
gene (fl)
The reason you have Trump is because the Democrats have catered to the donor class over the working class. Three years later they still dont see it. Trump will win.
Republi-con (Michigan)
For those sitting out the general election because your favorite didn't win - your legacy is 4 more years of this - and the destruction of our courts for generations.
Boregard (NYC)
This is yet another issue the Dems have left on the table for the Repubs to devour.There is no better way to undermine civil rights, the very Constitution, as we have historical witness in the post Civil War South, then by controlling the courts. There is also mountains of historical evidence as to how ultra-Conservative judges taint the process and in turn favor those populations most like them, or deemed pure as the driven White snow. Which brings us to another problem with these ultra-orthodox (so they claim) Conservative judges. Their religious faith, and how it will, and already does seep into every pore of their decision making process. They will deem allegiance to their faith first, their pledges to the Federalists society second, then to their appointment benefactors...leaving the secular society and the rest of us and where we point the nation, somewhere in the back, if we're allowed a place on the train at all. However, lets get one thing straight. These appointments are not truly Trumps. He has no clue about of these candidates. He has not read one word of their papers, theories on the law, any briefs, or whatever else they have written - unless they have recently praised him. That he will have read, in pictograph form of course. But these judges are wholly of the Ultra conservative Federalists Society, who are part of the menage de trois involving the GOP and the American Evangelical associations. Whom Trump is beholden to for votes. He knows that much.
barbara (nyc)
Who decides how religion rules America? It would seem religion can and has throughout time done quite a bit in determining what is of value and what is not. Is religion spiritual guidance or is it power?
Bill Reed (NYC)
Well, this is what winning looks like. Trump won, Republicans won the Senate, there you have it. And this article politicizes the judiciary. Methinks if the shoe were on the other foot the Times would not call out the politisation of Presidential judicial picks.
C. Davison (Alameda, CA)
If/when illegality in 2018 election is confirmed, I want restitution for America: reverse Trump’s Executive Orders; remove his partisan and incompetent hires and jurists; restore regulations; rescind public land transfers. Fund with asset forfeiture. The U.S has a longstanding practice of making victims of both criminal and civil behavior whole. He has torn us apart for personal power, pride, and profit. Aside from wondering if he will let us have national elections in November, I’m concerned about what this malignant narcissist will do between losing the election and inauguration of #46. He is capable of inflicting a lot of damage out of sheer spite. See: negating everything Obama after a few mild Press Club jokes. Re-election rejection will be a huge insult.
William (Massachusetts)
The only requirement is, experience not necessary.
Rocky (Seattle)
This destructive and long-lasting damaging effect on the American people will be the most enduring shame of the Democratic Party not to win the 2016 election.
GSL (Columbus)
Conservatives realized a long time ago that control of the SCOTUS was the ultimate goal, and have directed all their resources at that objective. It is the mission of the Chamber of Commerce and its progeny the Federalist Society, both of which are descendants of the John Birch Society. (Read the Powell Manifesto). It is all about creating an oligarchy that has the imprimatur of law, condoning economic genocide, so that the full weight of governmental forces of power can be brought to bear and justified under the “Rule of Law”. It is hard to know whether Roberts and his ilk are naive puppets or complicit.
Mike (Down East Carolina)
In my experience, "conservative" judges tend to be Rule of Law judges while "liberal" judges tend to be activist judges. Legislating from the bench is never a good idea. That's the purview of Congress or the state legislatures. However, both legislative bodies need to get past their reluctance to legislate. I realize that puts the membership at political risk, but that comes with the territory. I love it when SCOTUS throws a court case back to Congress and essentially directs them to get up off their collective worthless behinds and legislate.
A Rational Man (NYC)
@Mike Both stripes of judge are "activist" - it is their job to intervene! How one feels about the results is pre-determined by your other politics.
Susan (VA)
When they say "conservative agenda" it has NOTHING to do with gays or abortion or religion. It is about BUSINESS OWNERS vs WORKING PEOPLE/CONSUMERS. This is the real battle Republicans have been fighting for 4 decades - the right of big business to pay you as little as they can. The right for you to have no rights when it comes to the products or services you buy. If white working class "Christian" Americans don't wake up soon, we are doomed.
Job Done (Natick)
Little TrumpetWhat becomes of a 'think globally, act locally" which was once grass roots is: orrganizing is now a select club of puppet authoritarians. The funny part is if the man at the top made s secret alliances with Russian bots and spammers, these American shoo-in oligarchy supporters will probably irbeinfiltrated by outside influences as well-and have even less resistance as the rich dope at the top. Just as we have a Coronavirus test, we should develop a litmus test for Russian clones' influence (and other interference). The judicial system needs an independent "anti-Trump-dote", b/c these conservatives mutate quickly. The more they grow, the more they accept conditions of decay of the host, at everyone's expense.
David (Binghamton, NY)
Perhaps the Democrats will finally recognize how greedy for power and how unscrupulous the radical right is. It’s often been pointed out that the Democrats have been bringing knives to a gun fight in their dealings with the Republicans. Maybe the complete takeover of the judiciary by radical right wing activists will finally make the Democrats recognize what is at stake. “Reaching across the aisle“ and trying to foster a spirit of comity is little more than pathetic and insipid appeasement. If and when the Democrats ever regain control of the Senate and the presidency at the same time, they need to add justices to the supreme court and use the power of impeachment to remove as many of these radical right wing activist judges from the appeals courts as they possibly can. It’s time the Democrats started playing by the same rules as the Republicans do. Or rather, it’s time the Democrats stopped playing by the rules that the Republicans themselves refuse to play by.
David Henry (Concord)
Radical ideologues will destroy us, if we let them. They would say, for instance, the words "social security" are not literally (Originalism) in the Constitution, so Social Security is unconstitutional and must be abolished. Same with environmental protections. Don't be fooled.
R N Gopa1 (Hartford, CT)
" . . . the Supreme Court, and nearly all federal litigation ends there." Maybe a sign of the times, the first appearance of Obamacare before the supremes belies the expectation of aby manner of closure to be achieved at the supreme court. Challenges keep coming one after another . . .
From Where I Sit (Gotham)
The Republicans have been playing the long game ever since the first more was written to become the Powell Memorandum.
lany (world)
I think, the main message should not be "Let's fight conservatives", because this will only glue them together in even deeper blindness. The message is: "Dear conservative friends, give your party a chance to reshape itself without Trumpian radicalism. In order to keep our democracy save, to rebuild national unity and to preserve god's sacred earth (this is even a holy christian duty) against irreversible environmental damages, in order to stop hatred and love your neighbour like yourself (christian duties, too [Lev 19:18; KJV]). Think about the world and the creation not anymore in egoism and "Trump first" politics, which is Anti-christian: The translation of "Diabolo" is "splitter", and this is exactly what Trump is." We need to explain, that this is not about being conservative or progressive. There is an urgent need to restore a political landscape with two parties, which both serve to all people and are able to work in bipartisanship. Something which obviously impossible with Trump.
Svendska8 (Washington State)
I am convinced now that the Rs and the Federalist Fringe are striving to establish a conservative theocracy: abortion, guns, misogyny, homophobia, racism, nationalism and less government. Is there a way to impeach judges for their bias? The first ones to investigate are Trump's campaign cronies. So many of them have gone to jail.
Guy Walker (New York City)
When the lawsuits start coming in from contaminated water these darlings will be there to ignore or rule against them. Sick babies, throw it out of court. Redlined? They'll toss it out. The conservative agenda is to protect hoarded dollars off shore, promote Citizens United and privatized jails. I don't care how many times they say a pledge, oath of allegiance or swear to God, they do not have the citizenry's good at heart. These characters will side with polluters, drug makers and jailers backing everyone against the walls of their cells in the name of National Security. Mission Accomplished.
RCH (NYC)
As a great American once said - "Elections have consequences".
C. Davison (Alameda, CA)
Can’t fault Republicans for lack of long-term strategy. Failures in ethics, patriotism, equity, and health, yes.
Frank Roseavelt (New Jersey)
Young, anti-government ideologues who double as religious zealots, and in many cases lacking proper qualifications.... This is the damage done by those voters who couldn't bother to vote in 2016.....those who wanted to "send a message" by voting for a third party with no chance of winning....those who were angry that their personal choice was not nominated.... those who underestimated the power of Fox Propaganda and assumed a blithering dunce could not possibly be elected.... and those who shrugged and wondered how much damage could actually be done in just one term.... We'll be paying for 40 years for the numerous mistakes and miscalculations made by voters on that one single day in November, 2016. Hopefully the lesson has been learned. Defeat TRUMPutin in 2020
Mike B (Ridgewood, NJ)
Control the courts and you control the land. It's ironic that the founders third--in a list of check and balances--is the most powerful, owing mostly to having the last say. I suppose that if the Left ever gets back both Houses and the White House they can return the favor of seat-sealing and court-packing and DE-FUND and dissolve the most objectionable courts and the seats of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. Last hired first fired! Every court has to ask Congress for funding to operate. Cut the cash and you'll cut them out of the equation.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
Federal law prohibits the use of federal taxpayer dollars to fund elective abortions except in the event of rape or incest. Cases where the mother's life or health are endangered have always been eligible for federal funding. Why would anyone appoint a judge who took any position opposing federal law? Where was the outrage when Harry Reid blocked Bush's appointments of appellate judges in 2007 and 2008? More than 25% of appellate judges were appointed by Obama. It's true that he appointed 55 judges in six years while Trump has appointed 51 in three years, but it is not the fault of Republicans that Obama did not put a priority on appointing justices.
Southern Boy (CSA)
Trump's reform of the US judicial system is good fo law and order. Thank you.
JoeG (Houston)
Just when I thought running out of things to panic over, there it is conservative courts. It's like being in the middle of a Steven King novel. White people running the country, the horror of it. I'd like to call for better days when Justices were less partisan and work for the common good but look at what happens when they do. They gave us three time loser laws. Now they want to set up a revolving door for non violent criminals. Maybe I don't have all the facts but progressive appointees are usually more out of touch with the people compared to conservative judges. Whether I agree with the Roberts' Court decisions or not they don't seem to be as horrifying as the media predicted them to be. Living with a one party system seems more horrific than what we are experiencing. Besides this is the way it was designed to work. Enjoy it while you can. We have bigger problems if you haven't noticed.
newton (earth)
For many on the "right", it has always been about abortion. I think its really interesting how they fail to realize that they are being played. The real masters are not interested in abortion rights (if they need one, they can always fly somewhere they can get one, as they did in the past). This is the carrot they peddle to have their supporters continue to vote for against their own self-interest. These people who fund the Federalist society and are pushing these idealogues on to the court system have the long game in mind - the complete transference of wealth and power to the few, at the expense of the many.
Bill (New York)
Thanks for the good news. we can use some. Another 4 years of Preseident Trump should do a lot more good, including flipping the out of control 9th circuit.
Chris (Minneapolis)
Please, I wish you would stop calling these trump judges. These are Mitch McConnell judges. To think that trump had anything to do with it beyond picking names off of a list given to him by Mitch McConnell is just plain absurd. It is not difficult, at all, to tell how much actual business trump can get done in a day just by following his twitter feed. He tweets all day long most days. And the content of his tweets prove that he watches TV for a good portion of the each day in order to keep up with what everyone is saying about him.
Margaret (Europe)
The Federalist Society is still the far right fringe. The fact that there are more of them now, doesn't make them mainstream.
cec (odenton)
Simply confirms what we know about the US judiciary. Politically driven by ideology and party. Nothing new to see here.
Jason (Mcdonald)
Abortion, made legal at a national level through the Supreme Court. Gay marriage, made legal at a national level through the Supreme Court. Yes, we really need to stop the Conservative leanings of the Court. It's just terrible.
Gary Marton (Brooklyn, NY)
Take a look at, for example, the US Sup Ct. decision in Flowers v Mississippi. Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion, Gorsuch joined Thomas in all but one part of his dissent. Yet to the NYT the 51 judges should be seen as a homogeneous block, not as individuals undoubtedly acutely aware of the independence that their appointment to a life-tenured position gives them. Treating the 51 as a block makes the reporting easier, I suppose, but it misdirects the reader away from what is important: the individual decisions, i.e., the work product of each judge.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
The whole idea of "faith" does not belong in courtrooms. There is no merit whatsoever to holding and applying beliefs that are not independently verifiable by any objective means. The whole judicial process is supposed to screen out falsehoods.
Greenberg Traurig III (Aurora, Illinois)
Trump ought to pardon Dennis Hastert. His crimes and conviction may be liberal fake news of the past. Certainly a misguided ruling by present day presidential standards. McConnell forgot about Dennis Hastert. Rush Limbaugh did not. The liberal courts treated Dennis Hastert very unfairly. He helped build the Republican party. He’s a real zero from the past. Free after 13 months, not pardoned. Trump’s appointments give me confidence.
Christy (WA)
The greatest irony here is that Trump does not know or respect the rule of law, he does not know or respect any judges and wouldn't know whether a jurist was good or bad if one bit him in the leg. He simply follows the advice of the Federalist Society, Mitch McConnell and far-right evangelicals who have convinced him that it will guarantee a voting bloc for his re-election. In other words, naked self-interest which is what always motivates Trump.
Rsq (NYC)
Godlessness & moral ambiguity is an accurate description of criminal trump. Thank you for putting those thoughts into the universe.
Dady (Wyoming)
The problem with this article is the underlying assumption that Obama, or Clinton or Biden acts in a manner free of political interest. Trump, albeit in a confrontational way, is doing simply what they would do if given the opportunity. To suggest Obama would not have appointed more liberal justices if he had the senate is naive.
Jay Terry (Fulton NY)
Should've put Harry Reid's photo at the top of your collage of judges. Put a business man in charge of something and he will get 'er done. Elections do have consequences. What the Dem's and the left did to Judge Kavanaugh will haunt them for years. This is why Trump will probably be re-elected in a land slide.
SV (USA)
Yes, those who say Biden is no better than Trump, don't understand this. The courts matter almost more than the legislative branch. Liberals can push Biden to be a progressive lawmaker just as they pushed the centrist Andrew Cuomo to enact progressive legislation in New York.
AHe (Finland)
One of the flaws of the system is that judges are appointed for life, and that decisions are taken by so few for important cases. If (like now) older conservatives step aside for younger, more political conservatives judges, you end with a situation that the SCOTUS becomes a 7-2 conservative majority. If, on the other hand, you would get a democratic president, you will end up with a 6-3 liberal majority for decades to come. The likelihood of balanced opinions becomes zero to none. The only solution (as I see it) to a fair judicial system is to introduce time limits, and increase size of higher courts such that extreme opinions are less likely. Right now the US judicial system drifts towards that of Poland or Hungary; that's not a compliment
Schaeferhund (Maryland)
The good news is that it wouldn't hurt for Democratic legislators to ponder the constitutionality of their bills a little more. What I am worried about is that, while everyone automatically thinks "liberal judge" when one hears the snarky term "activist judge," we could find these judges to be the real activists. They could empower the executive branch more than power than Americans have ever thought, the so-called "strong" unitary executive theory. I believe these faces we see here are those of the people who will hold us back as a country. They will thwart any expansion of the public sector, and in the process may hurt the common good. They will push back on regulations to protect our environment. They will enable corporations, some of which are more powerful than nation-states, to run roughshod over our country and powerless individuals. They can further hurt voting rights. They can let crony capitalism slide. Everyone is probably thinking about abortion, when 77% of Americans think Roe v. Wade should be upheld, but there are myriad ways the disease of Republicanism will fester for a generation.
HoodooVoodooBlood (San Francisco, CA)
The problem with Conservatives is that they all subscribe to the 'Realist Theory'. Backed by 600 million years of competitive evolution, the realist theory is confirmed in everyday life as well. However, in the bigger picture, once a planet has a single dominating species, the realist theory becomes weak kneed. International competitive 'anarchy' must be reduced and a new cooperative, collaborative planetary perspective need evolve. To put it plainly, parasitism must give a bit of ground to altruism. Not a complete shift, just a move towards a united planetary perspective. This runs against everything competitive evolution for 600 million years has achieved. This is why self awareness and planetary dominance by ay species comes at such a huge cost. Chances are very good that we'll never get there. Self destruction is much more likely. If Vegas laid down odds, it would be on self-destruction. I just wanted to point out the need to evolve as a species into a new planetary perspective, away from the 'Realist Theory' and the international anarchy that this theory embraces as fact.
Gary (Belfast, Maine)
Donald Trump, as president of the United States, continues his personal history of usefulness to cadres of manipulators more masterful than he. As to whether these appointees are truly willing to attempt to reshape our country via its systems of laws remains to be seen. I think that, if they are as well educated as they seem to be, they may come to understand that imposing the will of a few upon the many undermines the system that got them where they are.
W. Ogilvie (Out West)
The pendulum swings and the concept of an impartial judiciary evaporated long ago. Activist judges either right or left are the greatest danger to our democracy.
Robbiesimon (Washington)
So much for an independent judiciary. The makeup of the courts is now entirely a function of presidential and senatorial elections. Pretty sure this isn’t what the Founders had in mind.
JD Ripper (In the Square States)
When I pushed the button for Hillary Clinton in 2016 my first thought was the judiciary, the Supreme Court and all those vacant court seats that had been blue carded or filibustered by the Republicans for years. Even the now revered John McCain said that he would never allow Clinton to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Even if the Democrats sweep the nation in 2020, the Federalist Society led Republican judiciary will thwart any Democratic actions for a generation. Elections have consequences and after reading a number of the comments here, I conclude that we are a nation divided. Some things never change, we started as a nation divided and remain so to this day.
Paul Raffeld (Austin Texas)
More examples of political bias in our court system. If we really want to fix this, judges should never be appointed by a sitting president or other politicos. Perhaps the legal profession could select and appoint judges instead. If we cannot depend on judicial fairness, our last chance to crawl out of the political quagmire will be lost. Judges now being appointed by the Trump /McConnell team are extremely politically biased. We must maintain as much selection independence for court appointed judges as is possible.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Equal protection of the law does not exist without equal input to what the law is and how it is interpreted. The US Senate is flat out moronically conceived.
Donald (NJ)
Not this article or anything else will change the time honored tradition of Presidents appointing judges that agree with their agenda. Trump has only accomplished what his predecessors failed to do. The 9th Circuit is a perfect example of his democratic predecessors "stacking" the court.
Castanea Sativa (USA)
The bottom line is that the USA founded initially on the principles of the enlightenment (with some notable exceptions) has starting with Reagan (the Bushes and Trump adding many nice touches of their own) turned into a medieval feudal theocratic state. It's as if the French Revolution had ended up reinforcing the powers and privileges of the nobility and the clergy. Every day we aghast learn about new misdeeds from our overlords and their minions. We have indeed fallen very low concerning the qualification of federal judges. Case in point: Kavanaugh's theatrical confirmation complete with his political tantrums, snarling answers and beer commercials.
Lt (Dallas)
at this rate, GoP don't even need to make effort to win or to adhere to the rule of law. They can appeal to the courts and the courts will side with them. An evolution of American democracy under GoP is towards 3rd world banana republic. But GoP know what they want and they know how to organize and fight, unlike the wishy-washy democrats. Sad and scary at the same time.
Ace (Connecticut)
While your piece attempts to downplay it, looks like Trump is bringing much needed balance back to the courts. Venue shopping was prevalent under the Obama administration. Many of the anti Trump rulings have come from Obama judges.
ARNP (Des Moines, IA)
"They're not afraid of being unpopular," boasts the conservative court activist. She is bragging about the fact that Humpty-Trumpty's appointees don't care what most people--including the majority of the citizenry--think. They care only about pleasing their reactionary Federalist Society cabal. While elected judges are at risk of trading their objectivity for political support (and campaign contributions), judges appointed for their allegiance to a purely ideological script undermine the very concept of unbiased justice. As this article makes clear, these judges have a specific agenda, and care deeply about their own popularity--among their extreme right-wing minority.
Larry L (Dallas, TX)
Plagues, the modern equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition, ruling by edict, an economy based solely on the rights of landowners leaving out serfs. What could possibly happen? Might want to look at what Europe looked liked during the 1100s and 1200s.
Trust the Process (Philadelphia, PA)
This piece completely misses the way that the courts first became politicized in Warren Court Era. Judges in that era did not even pretend that their opinions were based on the text of the Constitution. Once the Warren Court made it clear that judges can circumvent the political process and make the law up as they go along, the courts became a jewel to be captured. It’s also interesting that the Times does not run similar pieces for the Democratic appointees, who not only vote reliably liberal on every case, but go out of their way to push the law beyond what made-up precedent allows them.
Abbott Hall (Westfield, NJ)
My take on this is that, Democrat or Republican, the federal judiciary is still ruled by the very small slice of the population that were fortunate enough to attend Ivy League law schools, especially Yale and Harvard. We might be better off if we had judges with more educational diversity.
theirllbelight (CO)
The debt spiral is unwinding. We'll see a new financial crisis, and we'll hear calls for bailout soon. We are now paying the price for a decade of loose money. The rollback of post 2008 regulations makes it even worse. Thank you, MOSCOWMITCH! Mission accomplished. If you have an account with Citi or Wells Fargo, you may want to get your cash out.
swbv (CT)
This scary article is really all about Mitch McConnell and the Federalist Society. Aside from a Democratic win in 2020, our only hope lies in Term Limits for senators and congressmen/women. The world is changing, the country is changing, and we are ill served by lifetime appointments of hard right reactionary judges young enough to affect the lives of my grandchildren. Never forget: Merrick Garland.
sam finn (california)
The supposedly erudite, well-educated Left who supposedly believe in Democracy and the People just cannot get their precious little heads around the fact that imperial edicts from unelected lifetime federal judges was one of the two big draws for Trump in 2016 (the other big draw for Trump being de facto open borders increasingly pushed by the Left).
T. Goldberg (Berkeley, California)
Something I would like to know, and perhaps could be covered in a separate story at some point, is what kind of measures could be taken by a future administration (whether Democratic or less insanely Republican ) to mitigate the impact of these appointments? Is there anything that could be done to correct for this? Voters need to consider judicial appointments and the long term impact of their rulings when voting, but how can their damage be softened in the years to come?
magicisnotreal (earth)
@T. Goldberg Fix education. We used to teach children how to think. Now they are taught what to think and actively discouraged from thinking. Knowing how to think would preclude anyone with common sense and decency from adopting these radical points of view.
Newsbuoy (Newsbuoy Sector 12)
@T. Goldberg judges can be impeached.
David Gage (Grand Haven, MI)
@T. Goldberg There is a proper fix as laid out in the book "True Freedom - The Road to the First Real Democracy" where the judges not longer have the power to make choices but only to make certain that the redefined laws of the nation are being followed. No one, and that includes the President has this right! Now, it will take a few years to fix this however we would also have the ability to create a new law asap which would remove that arrogant supposed hypocritical right assumed today by most judges. Are you ready to properly fix this issue for if you are you will also have to accept the removal of the supposed powers of all elected officials and it will take that which Jefferson told us when he stated that in order to the votes to retain control of their governments it would take another revolution. So, again are you ready?
David Godinez (Kansas City, MO)
This situation was precipitated by then Senate Majority Leader Reid's disastrous decision in 2013 to allow a vote to go forward to drop the requirement for a two-thirds majority for Senate confirmations. The Senate Democrats were warned at the time that "they would deeply regret their action if they lost control of the Senate next year and the White House in years to come", and no truer words were ever spoken. The Senate Republicans in their turn took that requirement for a simple majority, and have run with it ever since. I'm not sure if the Senate can ever go back to the requirement for a super-majority, certainly not soon, but this is in essence about Washington power politics, and control of the Senate chamber. To strike back, the Democrats must simply put a huge emphasis on electing their Senators this year, and in the future. The cycle of politics in the U.S. will ensure that the ideological balance of the federal judges will balance out over time also.
Robert Atkinson (Sparta, NJ)
It would seem that the root cause of the "problem" in not Trump but the Democratic Senate which blew-up the norm of a super-majority approval of judicial nominations during the Obama presidency. The 60-vote norm meant that only moderate nominees could be confirmed. The Democrats blew-up the 60-vote requirement because they wanted ultra-liberal rather than moderate judges to be confirmed, so they now reap the whirlwind: Republicans now get their ultra-conservative judges. Having destroyed the process for selecting "moderate" judges, if the choice now has to be between "ultra-liberal" or "ultra-conservative" judges. While I'd prefer "moderate" thoughtful judges, conservative judges are preferable to liberal because it conservative rulings will push important decisions and policy-making to where they belong in a democracy: to the Legislature, through clear and updated laws, or to the People, through Constitutional amendment.
magicisnotreal (earth)
@Robert Atkinson The terms you use are created by the republicans to divide and conquer us. The positions republicans hold cannot be arrived at by reason thus they need to have an ideological argument with us about things as they cannot win one based in reason.
mlbex (California)
@Robert Atkinson : It does look like the Democrats made a serious mistake. Now the Republicans have tipped the scales and are making them pay dearly. Now, can they declare victory, undo this mistake and return to the 60-vote standard before it destroys the judiciary?
Newsbuoy (Newsbuoy Sector 12)
@Robert Atkinson Great observation and a clarion call to voters that if they want change it most rightly [pun] comes through the election of local and regional politicians who will represent your views and not because a political party says they are the lesser evil and you have no choice. Look'n at you Dems. That said, it appears that one demographic of the democratic party likes being the solid fuel busters that propels the democratic candidates into obit only to be jettisoned. FYI: I've been a registered Dem most of my life and have just about all I can take evil-lesseriness. Soon I will likely become an independent. Dame did I forget to mention the Republican dirty tricks, gerrymandering, national-socialist-evangelical movement? Shucks, golly-gee, "just another face in the crowd".
ProfStewart (San José del Cabo, Mexico)
This article is good news for those who believe in conservative causes, as I do. I'm not alone, and I'm looking forward to reelecting President Trump this fall.
Jeff (New York)
@ProfStewart That's the problem, of course. You "believe in" these causes without checking to see whether your beliefs are correct. For example, if you ban abortion, abortions will still happen, they'll just be more dangerous to the life of the mother. People like you also "believe" that abortion bans are a punishment for having sex, but plenty of married women decide to have abortions, and if you make birth control harder to access as well, which many conservatives like you also "believe" should be instituted, you leave these women no alternative. And that's just one example. Try thinking rationally and not believing.
magicisnotreal (earth)
@ProfStewart Name one conservative cause and justify it with a reasoned argument. Show me why it is rational to hold that position.
Susan (VA)
@ProfStewart Apparently you are looking forward to a 2 class society - the 1% who will be obscenely wealthy and the rest who will be horribly poor. This has been the result of 40 years of sickening Republican polices that have only made the rich richer, gutted the middle class and created more hungry, homeless people than than 3rd world countries.
Kumar (San Jose)
Dissent: Rare, but Often Along (Appointing) Party Lines The chart appears to be incorrect. If the range was taken 2017 to 2019, there were several months in 2017 there were no Trump Judges and several more years to form a significant % of the Appellate district courts. The disagreeing of a Judge depends on the peers. The liberal Obama judges had fewer conservatives to disagree with and rulings were generally liberal. With the Trump appointees this balance is changed. A truer analysis would be for 2019 to 2020 which I believe would look different on the charts.
highway (Wisconsin)
Nothing in the Constitution mandates 9 justices on the Supreme Court. If the country really does take a decisive turn to the left as the Bernie generation takes over, there is a remedy, not an ideal remedy but a remedy, available. It is very sad but decisions like Citizens United and the near-miss on throwing out the Affordable Care Act (and we're not yet out of the woods on that one) are so far over the line in terms of legitimate exercise of judicial review that the right is begging to have its wings clipped. Just because court-packing failed when FDR tried it doesn't mean it will fail in 2032.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@highway The Bernie generation doesn't show up to vote. By the time they start voting in high numbers, they'll be Republicans.
Dady (Wyoming)
If you cannot play by the rules and don’t believe elections have consequences, then move the goal posts.
NICHOLS COURT (NEW YORK)
@highway I agree
nora m (New England)
Stacking the courts is a time honored method of killing democracy. Dictators have used it for ages. Trump has been amassing the tools of destruction: packing courts with allies who will rule as he (and the plutocrats) desire; a supine Congress to create or thwart whatever legislation they want; attacking and delegitimizing the institutions and agencies; a justice system willing to pursue political enemies; and breaking norms of behavior. The two remaining elements of killing democracy are treating your opponents as mortal enemies instead of the loyal opposition and bullying the press. We have all that is needed to establish a dictatorship. (How Democracies Die by Levitsky & Ziblatt) Trump did not start this trend. It began with Reagan's attacks on the legitimacy of government, itself. It was intensified by Gingrich in his take over of the House and insistence that his members go home on weekends so they wouldn't socialize with their colleagues across the aisle. Then, the heaviest blow came from McConnell when he refused to acknowledge Obama's right and duty to appoint a supreme court justice. Those were all norm shattering. To see each element as a separate event is to miss the larger picture. The Republican party has abandoned democracy and is quite willing to embrace a dictator. The pattern is clear as day. The question is, what are we going to do about it?
Rick Welcome (Reno NV)
It’s amazing how liberals forget their history. The Senate minority leader Harry Reid started this process by refusing to give multiple appointees of George W Bush any hearing up or down by filibustering their appointments to appeals courts. This threat continued with possible Supreme Court nominees of Alito and Roberts. The Republican Senate then threatened to change judicial appointees to a majority vote for confirmation and so Reid made a deal to allow those two Supreme Court appointments. Roberts was confirmed 77-22 and Alito 58-42. Later under Obama the Democratic Senate under Reid did change the confirmation process for Appeals Court nominees to a simple majority vote. This eliminated filibuster. So under McConnell the Senate then changed this to also apply to Supreme Court nominees as well. Current Senate minority leader is on video from 2007-2008 specifically saying that if there was a Supreme Court opening in the last year of Bush’s term that the Senate would not give them a hearing. They would wait for the new President to appoint. That’s exactly what happened with Garland only the parties of the sitting President and the controlling Senate switched. There is absolutely no doubt Schumer would have done the same thing. They even called it the Schumer rule!
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@nora m During the early years of the Bush administration, Democrats in the minority filibustered Bush judicial nominees until Republicans threatened the nuclear option. The gang of 14, seven Republicans and seven Democrats, agreed to not exercise the nuclear option if Democrats would not filibuster except in extreme circumstances. That agreement held for 2005-2006. In 2007, Harry Reid, now the majority leader, blocked confirmations of Bush judicial nominations. During 2009-2010, Democrats had 58, 59, 60 or 59 Senators. They missed their opportunity to confirm the appellate seats they had stolen from Bush, although they did confirm two Scotus justices. It wasn't until 2013 that Reid executed the nuclear option to pack the courts, apparently not realizing that he only had another year in the majority. If refusing to confirm judges is a sign of dictatorship, it was democrats under Eisenhower who laid the groundwork. Politicians have always criticized and demonized their opponents. What is new to the system was introduced by Hillary. She demonized voters who didn't agree with her. When asked who posed the greatest threat to America, she said Republicans. And she included all people not voting for her as either deplorable or economic losers. She alienated enough voters that she LOST the election.
TheUltraOrthodox (New York)
This article is spot on. I did not vote for Trump last election, but his record with judicial appointments is certainly one of the biggest draws for conservatives like me. I will tell you why: conservatives, specifically religious conservatives, feel threatened by a mainstream culture which views their beliefs —Levitical and otherwise — as bigoted. Conservatives, specifically religious conservatives, know they have lost the culture war. The courts are the best way to maintain standing. This is where we will focus our efforts. I’ve seen some of the comments mentioning Merrick Garland. Remember, Republicans learned this trick from Democrats. The Democrats filibustered Miguel Estrada after he was nominated back in 2002. If you don’t like it when “our people” did it, I hope you do not spare “your people” the same censure.
TT (Boston)
@TheUltraOrthodox I think the main difference between Estrada and Garland was that Garland was never even considered at a vote, so there was no filibuster. Estrada was ONE judge that was filibustered, eventually another judge was confirmed. McConnel's argument was never: "Not this judge, please nominate another one." It was: "We don't care whom you nominate, you will not get another judge on the bench from us.". That's an entire different ballgame. As for the bigoted part: If your party, for instance, wants to restrict abortion at all costs out of religious concerns, and then does EVERYTHING to help women avoid abortions (e.g., access to birth control or sex education for boys and girls), yes, then that is bigoted.
Roxie (San Francisco)
@TheUltraOrthodox “...religious conservatives, feel threatened by a mainstream culture...” So what is it about mainstream culture that interferes with your beliefs; gay marriage, nudity in films, science? What is stopping you from your constitutional right to practice your religion? You say “The courts are the best way to maintain standing. This is where we will focus our efforts.” OK. But when it looks like religious conservatives are pushing for a Theocracy, don’t be surprised when mainstream culture pushes back. BTW, the Founding Fathers were NOT religious conservatives, they were inspired by the Enlightenment, a philosophy which advocated freedom, democracy and reason (including empiricism, logic, skepticism, and critical thinking used in science) as the primary values of society.
Svendska8 (Washington State)
@TheUltraOrthodox It is one thing to oppose an outlier candidate for judicial appointments such as Estrada and Bork. It is quite another to pack the courts with nearly 200 all conservative ideologues with theocratic ideals, who have no pretensions of fairness or balance. I will seek to support petitions to recall and impeachment for these appointees who try to establish an American theocracy. You sir, are entitled to your private orthodoxy, but the rest of us aren't buying it.
The Errant Economist (The Carolinas)
As broadcast by conservative talk show hosts, the Right believes that on select issues American voters are generally more conservative or centrist than many judges; so that the progressive Left cannot move its agenda forward without "Activist judges" who overturn the will of the people (reflected in ballot box results) by fiats and decrees in the form of court rulings. To paraphrase someone like Hannity ... What the progressive left cannot get because of the will of the people they obtain by Leftist judges ... SO: I would like to see both the NYT and someone or two in the conservative media prove or disprove the above statement.
Susan (VA)
@The Errant Economist Exactly which issues are you speaking of. Every poll for decades has proven most Americans support a woman's right to choose, but Republicans keep making an issue of it. The Right just makes an issue of religious issues so that your average working man won't notice how much has been stolen from him.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@The Errant Economist Think back to 2008. The official policy and platform of the Democrat Party and the position of Obama and Hillary was opposition to same sex marriage. The states were tending toward giving domestic partnerships legal protections, both for same sex and male-female couples. Same sex marriage was explicitly illegal in 40 states. In 2008, simultaneously with the presidential election, a majority in California passed a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Twelve years ago, the overwhelming majority of the American people were indifferent. There was a small, vocal minority that was opposed and a small vocal minority that was in favor. For 80% of the population, they leaned against granting federal and state benefits to same sex couples because little of family law was appropriate. They were incapable of having children. Two same sex couples were not subject to the woman having reduced economic power relative to the man. So the objective of family law, to protect women and children, was irrelevant. Meanwhile, in the courts, the will of the majority were ignored by the coastal elite. In the Northeast, an 85 year old woman protested that she had to pay estate taxes of $130,000 on an inheritance of $3.5 million from her equally wealthy wife's estate. Scotus ruled that it was an injustice. A closeted gay California justice declared the California constitution unconstitutional.
David Bible (Houston)
Th appointment of all these conservative judges would be great if America and her residents actually benefited from the conservative agenda.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@David Bible The liberal agenda, per Kelo, asserts that it is legal for a city to take property from an individual and give it to a big pharmaceutical company. Democrat justices believe the government should have unlimited power.
CC NH (New Hampshire)
I'm wondering why you show a slew of photos of these judges but don't give their names attached to their photo and the states which they work. How do we the public do our own research on judges in our own states?
Tom (Bluffton SC)
This puts the lie to Chief Justice Roberts claim that "there are no Trump judges and no Obama judges." There is no question about these people. They are Trump judges.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Tom There is also no question that there are leftist judges who like to substitute their personal opinions for the law and policy decisions of the Congress and the President.
PaulB67 (South Of North Carolina)
@Tom : Roberts is a product of the Federalist Society, as are Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. The society is not open to Democratic Party jurists.
Just Ben (Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico)
1) It is a grave mistake to use the word "conservative" (or conservatives) in this report. Nobody so described here is conservative. These people are radical ideologues, and/or cynical opportunists. Nor are they "strict constructionists"--that is nothing but a convenient pose. They are judicial activists with scarcely any precedent, who decide cases without regard to, or with contempt for, facts and law. 2) The Republicans, as you point out, have cheated for years with regard to fair consideration of presidential judicial appointments. If the Democrats are able to take control of Congress and the White House next year, who can think of a better response than to "cheat back" by expanding the judiciary so that a fair balance is maintained? 3) The presidency of Donald Trump ought to have taught us much about flaws and deficiencies in the Constitution that, until now, mattered relatively little. Now we must carefully interrogate the notion that the president, while enjoying a fixed term of office, gets to appoint all federal judges for life, even when the majority of senators--n plain English, the Republicans--are a supine gaggle of patsies, and/or more cynical than the Devil himself. Should the president appoint federal judges? If he should, shouldn't there at least be some constraint upon him? Should a federal judge, a lifetime appointment, be confirmed without the votes of at least two thirds of the Senate?
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Just Ben You forget that it was Harry Reid who decided a simple majority was all that is required to reach cloture on a judicial conformation. Interesting, isn't it, that liberal ideologues in the Scotus are four times as likely to vote as a block than Republican appointed justices?
vishmael (madison, wi)
Why, my friends, do Democrats over past fifty years demonstrate NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER to any long-game plan or vision?
magicisnotreal (earth)
@vishmael They used to call politicians democans and republicrats when I was a kid. That's why. Biden is a perfect example of a democan. Haven't seen a republicrat in ages.
Be Ha (Arizona)
Mr. Sanders would (maybe will?) do exactly the same thing, and many readers here would applaud that - and do so without seeing the hypocrisy in that. It’s the way of politics: one day Mr Trump will be gone and a Democrat will have her chance also. In the meantime, get over it and move on.
mlbex (California)
@Be Ha : That's why the Democrats are rallying behind Biden.
The Comandante (Augascalientes)
Does anyone remember the "Warren Court" of the late 50's and early 60's? I was a small child then, but I remember a very liberal court forcing big changes on a much more conservative nation. So what is so different today? Trump's lasting legacy, decades after he is out of office, is the Supreme Court, the Federal Judiciary, and the decisions they make that will impact our lives.
Susan (VA)
@The Comandante The difference then was between conservative and liberal. Today the difference is between plutocracy and everyone else.
MAW (New York)
@The Comandante - Yes, the Warren Court did force big changes; changes in civil rights like ending segregation in schools; it propelled and expanded women's reproductive rights, expanded the rights of defendants, leveled representation to guarantee equality in our state legislatures, and put an end to state-sponsored prayer in public schools, among many other progressive pushes - all terrible, terrible things, right? This current Supreme Court majority, and the majority of the current crop of appointees described in this article and are being appointed not for the greater good, but for a hard right political agenda helmed by Trump enabler Mitch McConnell that is unraveling and even decimating decades of settled environmental and civil rights law, actively harms millions of people - innocent immigrant children living in cages for starters - and is dragging us back where we were before the Depression and FDR's New Deal. Just on healthcare and the environment alone, these judges and this lawless administration and party are a willfully partisan disgrace and insult to us and our Constitution. If we are lucky enough to win in November - if we even survive until then - I hope to God we can undo every craven act these disgraceful excuses for judges have put into law.
Dan (Connecticut)
When court decisions become markedly out of line with the general and enlightened moral judgement of citizens, the result is not a lifetime victory for conservatives, but outrage. The Supreme Court was dominated by southern states at the time of the Dred Scott decision. What resulted was not another generation of slavery, but the Civil War and the 13th and 14th Amendments. When it becomes increasingly clear that the courts are an instrument of the moneyed minority, outrage will surface. "Citizens United" was an outrageous decision. It appears others may follow.
Gary Marton (Brooklyn, NY)
@Dan Was Citizens United an outrageous decision? The First Amendment to the Constitution says that "Congress shall make no law...." Yet that's just what the government did; it made a law that restricted the dissemination of political opinion. If the Federal Government can limit corporations in their dissemination of funds in support of political candidates/issues, what safe harbor is there for, say, the New York Times? (It's a corporation). Or any other similar organization?
David H (Washington DC)
@Dan And then what? Elections for a new president. But then we have a choice between a stark raving maniac (Sanders) and a decent fellow who for all the world appears borderline senile (Biden). The Republicans are Machiavellian and these court appointments will in all likelihood be a negative for for the United States. At the same time, the Democrats are disorganized and hapless and obviously do not see beyond the end of their collective nose.
AL (NY)
As a lawyer and democrat, all I can say is kudos to the republicans. Well done - you’ve won the game, and whatever our side has been doing for the last thirty years is sadly beyond me.
Beyond The Parties (GA)
Maybe the whole system is due for a reboot? It seems irrational to maintain a power structure that no longer works for the majority of people who live in this society. In light of what’s going on I have a feeling that I’m not the only one thinking this and I believe a lot of elites are fearful in spite of their ruling class poker faces. The extremely privileged founders of this country had everything to lose yet they nevertheless started a rebellion for relatively minor infractions compared to the grievances that millions of citizens have today. The elites are probably thinking very hard about how to contain the social disorder that will result should mass job losses become a not too sudden reality. The safety net has been hallowed out to the core and I think that millions of people are generally just completely fed up with the status quo. In any case it seems unlikely that the let them eat cake strategy is going to be a winner this time around.
John (Machipongo, VA)
@Beyond The Parties Bernie Sanders might have led this rebellion, but the Democratic Party seems to be so afraid of Trump that they do not dare nominate him.
M Harvey (FL)
And this is not the worse of it. Every City, County, State needs to IMMEDIATELY shift to mail in ballots for the November election, or Mr. Trump will postpone the election for public safety/health reasons. And these judges will go along with it. (As in who wants to stand on a crowded line entering into a crowded gym to vote?) November-mail ballots. DEMAND it.
Leif (Stockholm)
It seems to me that the American nomination process for justices to higher courts is fundamentally flawed (packing the courts with 'friends of the regime' shouldn't be possible in non-autocratic nations). In my opinion, a fair system requires an independent nomination of justice candidates.
Per Axel (Richmond, VA)
One thing these Judges, and everyone else needs to remember is that Congress writes the laws. Congress has the authority to rewrite any laws it wants to change. And it is always modifying/changong the laws. Judges only follow the law and interperet it. And their decisions can and have been challenged in many Appeals courts. So their decisions are not at all permanent. And also like members of Congress, they retire and pass on. And then new Judges can reverse their decisions. And that happens. In sitting in and listening to guest speakers at 2 of Virginias best law schools, George Mason and UVA there is disagreement on many topics. George Mason being toe the line, not make changes conservative views/ opinions. And UVA a progressive, but still conservative law school, and a much more nuanced approach. Then there are those Libertarian Judges who move a over the spectrum of decision making. These Judges are temporary as are their decisions. What these Judges are not aware of is now all their decisions are avaliable to the public on-line. We can read what they have written and try to understand their reasoning. And if you read some of them, their decisions, you wonder just what planet they have arrived from. This holds true for conservative and liberal Judges. The law changes to reflect the will of the people. This conservative bunch should be very happy they are not elected, as most would never survive an election threat.
Mike DeMaio (Los Angeles)
The recent surge in conservative justices will ensure this country doesn’t implode. Nice work President Trump. And thank you...
Mark Paskal (Sydney, Australia)
Some may be qualified, but most are merely opportunists. When (not if) the Democrats regain the senate under President Biden, there will be a judicial reckoning. And members of Trump's cult will be held to account.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Mark Paskal Democrats have to take the Presidency as well as a Senate majority. Or else, Biden would have to appoint moderate rather than leftist justices. It would be like 2016, no leftist justices would be confirmed.
Majortrout (Montreal)
When Trump starts to take over the newspapers or tells then what they can and cannot so, then I'll know that history does repeat itself from the 1930's and 40's, and I would fear the consequences!
angel98 (nyc)
@Majortrout There are more ways than one to take over the media. Manufacturing consent, arm-twisting, blackmail, kick-backs, monopolies and take-overs c.f. the history of radio and local newspapers. Not as obvious as physically wrecking offices, imprisoning or murdering journalists but as deadly in its insidiousness.
KMW (New York City)
President Trump promised he would select conservative judges and he followed through on his promise. What a surprise. Hopefully he will be re-elected and can continue filling vacant spots with even more conservatives. The real prize would be for him to appoint at least one more Supreme Court justice. Now that would be the icing on the cake.
Robbiesimon (Washington)
This commenter continues to labor under the belief that making abortion illegal will end it. Too funny.
GMooG (LA)
@Robbiesimon By that logic then, why make murder and insider trading illegal? People will still do it. The reason why we have such laws -- or any laws -- is to REDUCE the amount of conduct we deem illegal.
Robbiesimon (Washington)
GMooG: Well, yes, making abortion in some states illegal will reduce the total number of abortions. The actual effect of this, however, will be to increase human misery and suffering. Here’s what will happen. Middle- and upper-class women and girls will continue to get abortions at the same rates they do now - one way or another. The women and girls who will be giving birth will be the most disadvantaged in our society. Poor; young; unskilled; uneducated; unsophisticated; many lacking a support network; many lacking a partner. Sadly, most of their unwanted children will therefore have little chance of a decent, happy, productive life. Many will be abused in one way or another, or neglected. In other cases, the mother won’t have the financial resources to support the child, so that burden will fall to the taxpayers. And, inevitably, a disproportionate number of these children will turn to crime. So, in some fifteen or sixteen years we can expect to see crime rates, including violent crime, spike in those states where anti-abortion laws pass.
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
Interesting how conservatives don't like judicial activism unless it their people doing it. They are all in favor of not reading more into the Constitution than the framers put into it unless it's about abortion, privacy, same sex marriage, social safety nets, etc. Then they want any program that supports those sorts of things declared unlawful. In other words what they want to conserve is their position at the top. I don't remember such a uniformly white and male administration with almost no interest in appointing qualified people since the Clarence Thomas hearings.
richard (denver)
Read this article only if you think that the courts should be a second legistative body. While one legislatively body may seem excessive at times, two is an overreach.
Tri P (San Jose, CA)
I do think after Roe vs Wade, and the gay marriage battle, most of conservative voters in US feel defeated, and they want to steer the court toward judges with extreme right-wing positions so they can prepare for the next liberal trends that they think they can win : gun regulations, medicare for all, presidency winner by popular votes, etc... Lucky for US, most of the liberal trends in the last 40 years have always been approved by the court.
Fran Cisco (Assissi)
Gaslighting as a deliberate method for political minority domination continues; Trump is not the only one using psy ops/ info warfare techniques. Chief Justice repeatedly asserts that the courts aren't partisan (while passing blatantly partisan rulings like Citizens United)- it's like Fox News used to keep saying "fair and balanced news" until it was clearly absurd for them to keep that pretext going. Likewise, conservatives kept insisting they arre against "judicial activism", all the while putting together the greatest program for far-Right politicization of the courts ever, under the Federalist Society cabal. Whatever happened to- lip service even- to impartial justice- has it gone the way of a limited Executive and other democratic norms like majority rule?
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Fran Cisco The majority elected Trump, just like the majority elected Bill Clinton. It drives Democrats insane.
nedhoey (California)
This from the party that screeched about "activist" judges. Yet when when their records are examined they were generally moderate. If they issued even a single opinion radical conservative Republicans didn't agree with, howls went up. My hope is that the next President isn't a Republican and that Mitch McConnell is not just no longer the majority leader because they lost their majority, but no longer a Senator at all. He has been absolute poison to the traditional nature of that body. I wish one of the billionaires would make Mitch's defeat a pet project. Wouldn't it be poetic Justice that unlimited money brought about his downfall.
John Brown (Idaho)
a) Can we please divide up the 9th Appeals Court into three different courts. b) Can every Federal Judge be required to be a Municipal Judge, a Country Judge, a State Judge before becoming a Federal Judge. c) Can we please get some Judges who went to Law School at Night and some of the lesser ranked Law Schools so we can have judges that understand what it is to be Poor in America, unable to sue the Company that ripped you off. I suppose when the Democrats win in November, if they also win the Senate, they will increase the number of Federal Judges and add more to the Supreme Court. And the Republicans will do likewise if and when they regain power. Can we please go back to the 60 votes necessary to appoint Federal Judges and can we limit their tenure to 12 years.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@John Brown There is no judge more hated by liberals than Clarence Thomas, and he grew up in public housing.
John Brown (Idaho)
@ebmem He grew up Poor. Perhaps, in his own way, he is on the side of the Poor, in the long term, than many Liberals who just want to throw money at the poor and hope they keep quiet.
Anne-Marie Hislop (Chicago)
- I agree with Mr. Trump on virtually nothing but do agree that at this point we have Trump judges, Obama judges etc - especially the former - Trump, of course, appoints very conservative judges purely for political purposes. He cares only about "Trump wins." If he thought that he'd be more likely to win with liberal positions we'd have pro-choice, pro-gay marriage etc., judges in a heart beat. - Mitch McConnell makes me wish that I believed in eternal damnation. The man has no integrity.
ebmem (Memphis, TN)
@Anne-Marie Hislop Obama appointed only partisan leftists for purely partisan reasons. When Trump was running for office, he posted a list from which he promised to appoint judges. He has followed through. That is one of the reasons he was elected. Why haven't Biden and Sanders done the same?
pn global (Hayama, Japan)
But wait there's more... Chief Justice John Roberts In the Supreme Court voting rights decisions below, Roberts makes clear he wants radical conservatism to triumph over democracy in America: a. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010). The 1st Amendment prohibits government from restricting independent expenditures for political communications by corporations; b. Shelby County v. Holder (2013). Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is unconstitutional; c. Michigan State A Philip Randolph Institute v. Ruth Johnson (2016). Eliminating the straight ticket voting ballot option does not intentionally discriminate against African-Americans; d. Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute (2018). Ohio's voter registration purge methodology is constitutional - (Note: Wisconsin and Georgia recently purged thousands of voters, (Georgia > 100,000), Wisconsin > 230,000), in a partisan scam targeting Democratic Party majority districts under the cover of this Supreme Court decision); e. Rucho v. Common Cause (2019). "Partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts." (CJ Roberts writing for the 5-4 majority) These cases move the voting needle two percentage points in Trump's favor, which could be the margin of victory in key states like Pennsylvania, Florida and Wisconsin, and would give Trump a win where it counts: the electoral college. Cheers
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
Out of all the reasons to never vote Republican, this is the most important! This recent wave of rightwing appointees happened because Hillary Clinton was seen as a weak candidate without charisma, (or maybe because she was a woman and people "didn't like the sound of her voice). Talk about not seeing the trees for the forest! But everyone should've known that extremely rightwing judges were coming if they supported ANY Republican over her. This is nothing new. The name of this game is the complete domination of our society by corporations and the extremely wealthy, no matter how much damage it inflicts upon all of the rest of us. And those people may not intend for the rest of us to die or go bankrupt because of for-profit health care, but they are completely unwilling to agree to any plan that makes them sacrifice to fix the health care system, and, unfortunately, every workable plan calls for them to sacrifice to fix the system! We know what we have to do--unless we want everything the government has tried to accomplish for the good of ordinary people since 1933 to be invalidated (and continue to increase inequality until its on the scale of Latin America). A Democratic President must replace Trump in 2020. 2016 was a terrible mistake; 2020 will be our last mistake before the oligarchy becomes permanent.
highway (Wisconsin)
@Bryan Third party lib presidential candidates like Nader, Stein and Johnson are the gifts that keep on giving, decades after they have made their self-righteous "statements". Nice work folks.
K Henderson (NYC)
It is time for the media call some of these "conservative" judges members of the Far Right. Because that is what they are ideologically speaking. Obviously that is not true of all recent appointees, but card-carrying members of the Federalist Society are Far Right.
PeteH (MelbourneAU)
Yeah... the Federalist Society is still well and truly "fringe". It would be interesting to know who exactly recommended all these judges to Trump. I mean, let's face it - the President isn't exactly the intellectual type, and he wouldn't know enough about the candidates, the courts, or jurisprudence, to make anything like an informed choice. He would have been given a list, and simply scribbled his name at the bottom of it. So now your Federal Courts are packed with radical right-wing judicial activists, Federalist Society apparatchiks all, and the Supreme Court is at grave risk of going the same way.
ex-pat Pat (Provence, France)
As pointed out in the article, it was that great patriot Mitch McConnell who was responsible for putting together the Federalist Society list and giving it to Trump
Chris (SW PA)
If they are cruel, and you know they will be, they will be typical members of the judiciary. I do not recall a country that was just. The land I live in has always been populated by cruel people. We have millions without healthcare and we consistently vote for leaders who want to continue that status quo. I don't recall any time when our system was not cruel and the judiciary not the protectors of the wealthy and powerful. To me, this is more of the same. Just more cruelty from the cruel country that elects cruel leaders.
Not Amused (New England)
It is intensely wearying to read about "conservative" judges, because their views are not "conservative" but rather extreme...call them "extremists" if you like, for that is what they are. They represent a world view in which a court doles out power, almost exclusively to white straight males, and often the richest in our society. This faux "conservatism" has nothing to do with "conserving" anything, except to keep power and wield it without mercy at the lowest among us in this society...to keep women "in their place" and to keep persons of color "in their place" and to keep the poor "in their place" and to keep members of the LGBTQ community in their place, and - most especially - to keep the rich in their place, above the rest of us.
dmckj (Maine)
The most disturbing aspect of hard-right 'originalist' judges is that their understanding of history is shrouded by their overt religiosities. The founders were not particularly devout Christians (by today's standards) and viewed religion to no small degree as some sort of vague Providence, and not much more. They were too well educated to believe otherwise. The Founders overtly rejected the statutory formalization of religion, correctly understanding that it would only lead to divisions and, likely, tyranny. Now we have cabals of conservative Catholic and Evangelical judges who consistently and repeatedly make the argument that voters have a right to formalize religious beliefs and bigotries into civil law. The stench of hypocrisy is overwhelming.
Eric (Florida)
Trump's promise to provide more balance to the judiciary system was a key factor in securing a significant sector for his electoral base. Promises kept, sector secured.
Chris (10013)
While President Obama seems to have some sort of immunity to scrutiny other than his symbolism, I fear that his Presidency will be seen to have been a significant turning point to the right. He squandered the Democratic control of the House, Senate and WH for two years and gained a single political win with Obamacare. He refused to meet members of Congress, had little interest in the care and feeding of his political base and therefore the singular focus on Obamacare as his signature legislative accomplishment (TARP was crtiical but a continuation of the financial crisis that began under Bush) cost the Democrats the control of the House and Senate. Ultimately, the table was set for Trump and we now see the results. While Clinton(s) are out of favor, we will look back with increasing positive feels about the balanced agenda that was accomplished under his presidency.
Dr. Conde (Medford, MA.)
@Chris I forgive Obama. He tried to "work with the other side". He mistook conservatives for capable professionals who would work with him. Instead with McConnell as their leader, they swore to impede him at every step, to vote against American interests to gain a perceived "win", to make every bill a "transaction" regardless of the effect on American lives, jobs, or their environment. Just like these judges.
bott (bklyn)
@Chris Obama's mistake was to think that if he worked hard for the common good, compromised when needed, and treated everyone - American citizens, Congress - like thinking adults, they would work with him and support & pass legislation for the betterment of the US. Instead Obama was obstructed at every turn by McConnell & Co., (including the stockpiling of judicial nominees) and denigrated in the right wing news. It's clear McConnell & republicans only care themselves and how much power they hold. They have greatly harmed our democracy and are a disgrace to this country. March 2010, NY Times: "Before the health care fight, before the economic stimulus package, before President Obama even took office, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader, had a strategy for his party: use his extensive knowledge of Senate procedure to slow things down, take advantage of the difficulties Democrats would have in governing and deny Democrats any Republican support on big legislation."
Jack (Houston)
Federal judges long ago stepped outside their traditional judicial role into policy-making, and judicial appointments became policy battlegrounds. Democrats have since experienced plenty of “be careful what you wish for” policy-making from the other side’s picks on the bench, just as Republicans have. It is neither surprising nor wrong that when judges are chosen in what has become a hyper-partisan process, the administration wants to know their principles and willingness to stand for them. “These are my principles. And if you don’t like them, I have others” does not suggest judicial character, but instead a politician. Each side wants and now mostly gets doctrinaire supporters of its positions who cannot be voted out because, as judges, they supposedly are just construing law rather than making it. To have a legitimate complaint about the other side’s judges being political actors, you must not have been striving for that in your own picks.
JY (IL)
@Jack , The legal profession has allowed a part of it, including bar associations, law professors, and even some judges, to confuse the function of law with that of politics. Perhaps members of the profession need to clarify the distinction among themselves. If it is all politics, why do we need bar associations, law professors instead of politicians, or even judges?
K Henderson (NYC)
@Jack As a counterpoint, the Dems didn't select extreme Leftist judges in previous decades -- yet that is exactly what you seem to be suggesting to explain why it is "OK" for the Repubs to select extremists with Trump as President. I am not sure your argument tracks and it reads revisionist.
Innocent Bystander (Highland Park, IL)
Oh, come on. How could a raft of federal judges selected by trump (or, more accurately, the Federalist Society) and confirmed by the Senate Republicans not be good for the country? Unless maybe anybody thinks going back to the 1950s, much less the 1920s, is a good idea.
Kevin (New York, NY)
@Innocent Bystander I honestly wouldn’t mind to a certain degree.
John (Midwest)
Some readers write as though this change on the federal courts came out of nowhere. It did not. After a third of a century, McConnell and other Republican Senators still remember the name of Robert Bork. In 1985, when Reagan nominated Scalia to the High Court, the Senate confirmed him 97 to 0. Two years later, when Reagan nominated Bork, it rejected him 58 to 42. This, even though Bork, like Scalia, had world class legal credentials - Yale law prof at 35, Solicitor General of the US, federal appellate judge. Further, he would have been a sure bet to overrule Roe v. Wade at the first opportunity. Yet four years later, once Anthony Kennedy was on the Court, he joined the liberals to form a bare majority to uphold the core of Roe. If Trump is reelected, he may well replace RBG and Breyer with brilliant conservative thirty somethings. Roe would then be on the chopping block. Of all things, then, notwithstanding its public health and economic consequences, the corona virus may be exactly the kind of crisis required to defeat Trump, i.e., to shake enough people in red and purple states into recognizing that he is completely unfit to lead in a real emergency. This, in turn, could stop the hemorrhaging on the federal courts.
Mark Keller (Portland, Oregon)
@John Robert Bork was turned away from the Supreme Court 52 - 48 because he fired Special Counsel Archibald Cox - who was investigating Nixon - after both Attorney General Elliot Richardson, and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus refused to do so at Nixon's orders. They both served the country rather than Nixon, and resigned. Bork did neither. Full stop.
dmckj (Maine)
@John You inadvertently give the lie to your your very point. Scalia was approved 97 to 0 because he was correctly viewed as a formidable legal mind of right. Bork was correctly rejected for many things, but the most important 2 of which include: agreeing to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox (i.e. showing himself to be a political stooge of Richard Nixon), and promoting the belief that money and free speech were one and the same, and thereby any regulations on use of money for political purposes was fundamentally viewed as a violation of the Constitution. The guy was an arrogant and self-pitying crackpot who had no business sitting on the bench. That people on the right continue to consider this man a cause celebre pretty much says it all.
KBronson (Louisiana)
@John No matter how much one believes that abortion is and should be a right, it could be only be “read” into the constitution with any minimal fealty to the integrity of law and language by ultimately resting on “ because I want it to be.” Bork pointed that out, stating that such matters where the constitution is silent should not be decided by the courts as constitutional matters but left to the political branches to fight about. The reason Roe v Wade is underlying every SCOTUS nomination is because it was bad law in the first place. It is bad law because it is not grounded in law, but in desire. Abortion advocates took a shortcut around politics and the country has been paying a price for near 50 years. Don’t like immigration law—don’t change it in Congress, get a court order. It has poisoned everything.
LJMerr (Taos, NM)
The authors of this article are assuming that most or all of these appointees will rule in completely partisan (read ultra-conservative) ways. Partisan opinions aside, if any of these judges behave in an unethical manner, they can potentially be impeached. Apparently, the Constitution is vague on grounds for impeachment of Federal judges, but it's entirely possible that impeachment could take place because of partisan politics, should the makeup of the House and Senate lean overwhelmingly liberal after the next election. I believe the Founding Fathers did everything they could to avoid extreme partisanship in the courts, but knew it would happen anyway, people being what they are.
trautman (Orton, Ontario)
@LJMerr When was the last time a Federal judge was impeached and removed from the bench. Gee, as much chance of that as the President, but it makes people believe they have power when the reality it they don't. Does look nice on paper though.
Tim Rutledge (California)
The only reason they were appointed was to rule in favor of the far right. At this point, I don’t know why anybody would give this administration the benefit of doubt about anything. They are the worst they can be.
David (Morges, Switzerland)
@LJMerr Let's hope so!
Chris (Charlotte)
Republicans have cared about the Supreme Court for decades and built a deeply researched bench of candidates, determined to avoid another Souter, whether in the Supreme Court or at the Appellate level. One only has watch the national moratoriums liberal judges issue from their local circuits to understand why Republicans are determined to replace as many of these judicial dictators as possible.
Ed Williamson (Tennessee)
@Chris Let us hope the president does as well in his second term.
Rocky (Seattle)
@Chris Ah, the old activist liberal judges canard. The Roberts Court is the most activist partisan Court in history.
Joe (Ohio)
With judicial dictators of their own....
Mark Keller (Portland, Oregon)
This tremendous piece exposes what will prove to be the original Quid Pro Quo on which all others were based: Faced with the added inducement of potential backlash from Trump's base, Congressional Republicans were willing to trade their sense of ethics and violate their oaths of office in exchange for President Trump presenting them with an assembly line - an army - of very young, extreme, Federalist Society approved Federal Judge appointees.
nora m (New England)
@Mark Keller The GOP had determined this course of action long before Trump. He just told them he would appoint whomever they wished in exchange for free reign on his wall.
Mark Keller (Portland, Oregon)
@nora m Yes, indeed! Many have laid the groundwork for President Trump, including people like Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, Danny Hastert, Karl Rove, And Obama’s obstructor-in-chief, Mitch McConnell. They all have known that republican policies are unpopular, and so they dismantled every tradition of fair play in democracy that stood in their way.
Dharma (Seattle)
Meanwhile the Democrats will fight among themselves over purity test, identity politics and when they win will not push through legislation that is focused on the long game.
PeteH (MelbourneAU)
It's what Charlie Sykes from The Bulwark (look them up, it's a great site) called "the circular firing squad". The Dems wasted all the debates taking shots at each-other; meanwhile, Trump continued, and continues still, to burn your nation to the ground.
sdw (Cleveland)
There are a handful of situations which remind us of the dire consequences of electing a person to the presidency who is unfit by intellect, personality and character for the office. We are experiencing such a situation right now with the coronavirus pandemic, which has been botched badly by President Donald Trump. The more common example of how putting the wrong person in the White House adversely affects history occurs when the president and the Senate are in the same political party, and there are vacancies in the federal judiciary. Donald Trump continues to be the poster boy for plaguing the nation with highly political federal judges. What is unique in the case of Donald Trump is the fact that his selections are not based upon his ideology, since for practical purposes Trump has no ideology. Donald Trump is interested only in having judges who will protect him personally, at all costs
Bosox rule (Canada)
There's something wrong with a system that allows 20% of the population to stack the courts with extreme ideologues. The fact that there isn't a less partisan method of appointing judges plus the fact that many of Trump's appointees were considered unqualified by the ABA is shocking and upsetting. I'm not sure how it can be changed when 1 side would never consider it. A small consolation is the fact that FDR passed much of the New Deal with an activist right wing SCOTUS!
dmckj (Maine)
@Bosox rule There was a less partisan way, requiring 60 votes in the Senate for approval of judges, but, very unfortunately, Democrats did away with it and McConnell has been taking advantage of it ever since.
GMooG (LA)
@Bosox rule Be honest. Your problem is not with "a system that allows 20% of the population to stack the courts with extreme ideologues." Your real problem is that currently, those ideologues are being selected by the conservative 20%, rather than the liberal 20%. Liberals had no problem with this system in the 60s and early 70s with the Warren Court.
trautman (Orton, Ontario)
@Bosox rule Yes, and major pieces were declared unconstitutional which is why he tried to add new court members and pack it. There is a major problem in America and why it is a country falling apart. The rural vote control through the Electoral College, the courts packed with members from total areas that have less than 40% of the population. Like the cracks on Wall Street blamed on the virus not true, the cracks in the entire country the fissures are starting to open large. The US won't exist in 10 years. Good!
Hazlit (Vancouver, BC)
We need to start a campaign of civil disobedience. For the sake of justice anyone who is being tried before a Trump judge should ask the judge to recuse himself/herself because of pathological bias. If they protest just make clear that such bias was what was being selected for in the first place.
James Ribe (Los Angeles)
Amazing! A federal judge who is not a liberal! How can this be?
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@James Ribe What do you mean "a" federal judge? They are LEGION, and they aren't just NOT LIBERAL--they're what a previous generation would've called FAR RIGHT. Only we can't see that now, because so few people are left alive who can even remember when the Republican Party had any moderate elements in it.
nora m (New England)
@James Ribe Some of them are no more fit for the office they now hold than Trump is for his. You might wish to consider the value of that before becoming triumphant.
PeteH (MelbourneAU)
It shouldn't be down to being a liberal or a conservative, it should come down to respecting jurisprudence, caselaw, and Supreme Court caselaw. These radical rightists with their ridiculous "Originalist" ideas are intent on discarding centuries of jurisprudence and remaking it to the directions of the Federalist Society.
Braden (Vancouver)
Lovely piece, one correction - What is it exactly you think the Republicans are trying to “conserve?” It’s certainly not the environment. It’s certainly not federal funds, (despite how much they used to howl at President Obama about the debt). And it’s certainly not a way of life - America has long moved on from the social standards of the 1950’s and the economic realities of the 1980’s - that’s how time works. From my perspective, the appropriate term is not “conservative” - it’s “regressive.”
Jackrobat (San Francisco)
@Braden Sadly, they're only concerned with conserving an American oligarchy.
Steve (Sonora, CA)
@Braden - Their paychecks! Contrary to popular belief, your run-of-the-mill lawyer in one of those fly-over states doesn't make all that much money. And I'm not sure these people rise to that shoddy standard. The public trough is where the action is.
Piotr Ogorek (New York)
From a Canadian. Who fall over themselves getting left of left.
Calleendeoliveira (FL)
Again McConnell has to go. Good luck Amy McGrath, I give you money and will continue, that evil man has to go.
Sumner Madison (SF)
"Elections have consequences."
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@Sumner Madison Indeed they do. Terrible consequences in this case.
Rocky (Seattle)
@Sumner Madison The Democratic Party loses sight of that reality only too regularly.
O (MD)
@Sumner Madison They sure do. We are living in an authoritarian regime run by a band of incompetent fools. Democracy is under direct assault and 35% of the people in the country couldn't care less. Consequences. Dire indeed.
John Q Public (NJ)
Way to go Mr. President...We love Ya !!!!
jennifer t. schultz (Buffalo, NY)
@John Q Public that is why pres Obama didn't get to appoint as many since none of them were approved by congress.
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@John Q Public Why? How will any of these ultra-conservative judges help "John Q Public"?
Peggy (Sacramento)
This is deeply disturbing. More evidence why we must not elect Trump again. He must be defeated. This should be and should have been the front story for the past three years. We must defeat this president if we want our country back. Every news outlet and t.v. journalist should be leading off with this story every night. This is the problem, there are so many horrible facts of the Trump presidency it is hard to focus on just one. He is very good at throwing out other stories to hide what he is really doing. Con man, grifter and liar in chief.
John Mardinly (Chandler, AZ)
Especially for the young voters like my daughter who refuse to vote for Biden, no matter what, the specter of 4 more years of trump contaminating the judiciary with stooges that answer to the beck and call of evangelicals, oil companies and racists should be more frightening than covid-19.
Rocky (Seattle)
@John Mardinly Ask her to imagine two different Americas in twenty, thirty years, and ask her which she wants to see.
JLErwin3 (Baltimore, MD)
The damage Putin has done to this country, as mediated by quisling Trump and his cult, is incalculable. The judiciary will lack legitimacy for a quarter-century.
Chip Lovitt (NYC)
And may all your Christmases, and most of your federal judges be white. If there's person of color in those photos, and maybe there are a few, I had a hard time spotting 'em. So much for diversity in our federal court system.
Si Seulement Voltaire (France)
Blame Republicans ... or maybe Harry Reid & a Senate dominated by Democrats who made it all possible with one decision. Swings back and forth between the parties are what has always happened, no?
KMT (Boston)
@Si Seulement Voltaire "or maybe Harry Reid & a Senate dominated by Democrats who made it all possible ..." True, but don't forget why he did it: the GOP senators began, for the first time, to reflexively and automatically filibuster every Obama nominee, regardless of qualification or judicial nature. They changed the process from principled approval or disapproval to political advantage-based approval or disapproval.
Bradley Bleck (Spokane, WA)
Fundamentally white and male in the model of Mitch McConnell and older Republicans everywhere.
Mark (CT)
I don't recall seeing articles mentioning Mr. Obama's liberal agenda being unleashed on the federal courts. I guess it's OK if they are liberal, but not if they are conservative.
dmckj (Maine)
@Mark Could you elaborate specific 'liberal agenda' details? Obamacare? Ensuring that a majority of Americans have access to decent and non-cancelable private insurance is hardly a 'liberal' agenda. What's another? You may recall Obama at first was against 'liberalizing' the DOMA act, until Joe Biden (of all people) pushed him into it. The law changed, the Supreme Court upheld it, and, to my knowledge the U.S. hasn't self-destructed, apart for the fact that Trump took office and we are now most of the way there.
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@Mark That's because they were mostly moderate. What conservatives today think is "liberal" was the old moderate normal. And what they think is "conservative" today are completely partisan defenders of the super-rich
Geneva9 (Boston)
@Mark it’s because it didn’t happen. Many of the judges being appointed under Trump not only have not received ABA approval, many have never tried a case.
gdurt (Los Angeles CA)
During the '16 election, Republican voters (you know - the "stupid" ones) were far more interested than Democrats in how the results would affect the courts, according to exit polls. It was the first thing I thought of that horrible night. I certainly hope the DNC and eventual nominee learned a valuable lesson. One more "oopsie" election, and you will see at least one if not two more McConnell justices (Trump has very little to do with any of this) on the Supreme Court for starters - and it should be featured on a loop in all Democratic marketing from now until November. Good luck getting anything "progressive" accomplished with red state lawsuits and a radical right wing judiciary lending a sympathetic ear. It might already be too late.
CP (NJ)
In November, we may purge ourselves of Trump, his henchmen and his collaborators in congress, but the ideologue-packed courts are his "gift" that will keep on giving. It can only be countered by a complete Democratic sweep of government, and even then, expect the judiciary to be at war with itself ideologically for the rest of most of our lifetimes. And, God help us, should Republicans win again, a right-wing rubber stamp for all Trump's megalomaniacal ideas is in place just waiting to codify all of them.
xtra (USA)
Most of these comments are hilarious. Conservatives win and appoint exactly the judges and justices they promised. They do this using rules put in place by Democrats while they were in power. And these comments then question the legitimacy of those appointed under the Democrats' own rules? Pull the other one, why don't you. If you want to see an illegitimate court, take a look at the 9th Circuit, the dream of every venue shopping liberal- cause lawyer in this country. Take a look at the reversal rate for that circuit of left-wing ideologues before criticizing the legitimate use of the appointment power by the Republicans.
O (MD)
@xtra It's the republican agenda. It has dire, dire effects on the vast majority of people in this country, and favors the wealthy and powerful. The fact that the 9th is reversed just shows how damaged our country has become at the relentless, cynical machinations of the republican party. Are you happy with what they have wrought? The majority of the nation is not. They continue to hold power through such tactics as voter suppression. We can only hope that their days in power are numbered. If not, then our country is pretty much doomed.
Jesse Larner (NYC)
@xtra The Democrats had to get rid of the filibuster because Mitch McConnell, in an unprecedented abuse of power, was blocking *every single Obama nominee* to the appeals courts, regardless of merit. Trump's judges are not even selected for merit. They are selected for blind hard-right ideology and personal loyalty to Trump and his political interests. Yes, previous Republican presidents generally appointed conservative judges, and Democrats "liberal" ones (whatever that means.) But both groups of judges were, by and large, thoughtful jurists, committed to the law, capable of judging each case on its merits. Trump's appointees are not. They consider how their rulings can help Trump and his agenda. This really is something new in American politics, and something extremely destructive.
Albert K Henning (Palo Alto)
@xtra Another Republican myth: that the 9th Circuit is wildly liberal, overturned at every turn. Rubbish. Absolute rubbish. Look up the statistics. The vast majority of Appellate court decisions, stand as ruled; those that are overturned, occur only fractionally more often than for other Appellate Courts. From the Wiki on appellate court reversals: "From 1999 to 2008, of the 0.151% of Ninth Circuit Court rulings that were reviewed by the Supreme Court, 20% were affirmed, 19% were vacated, and 61% were reversed; the median reversal rate for all federal appellate courts was 68.29% for the same period. From 2010 to 2015, of the cases it accepted to review, the Supreme Court reversed around 79% of the cases from the Ninth Circuit, ranking its reversal rate third among the circuits; the median reversal rate for all federal circuits for the same time period was around 70 percent."
John (NYS)
“The problem as I see it is not that judges differ ideologically — of course they do — nor is it that a Republican president would look for someone with congenial ideological preferences,”  Perhaps the only measure of a judge that should matter is how well they follow the intended meaning of the law which must be consistent with the intended original meaning of the Constitution. The states agreed on the Constitution based on a certain understanding at the time. Nothing that occurred after a given part of the Constitution can influence its meaning. Instead one must consider predecessor documents like the Federalist papers and the debates. in an ideal world we would not have partisan battles seeking party consistency, but would look for judges who follow the law which is what President Trump claims to do.
dmckj (Maine)
@John Well, the original Constitution was explicitly worded to allow slavery in states that desired it. I suggest you cross the Atlantic shackled in chains, then try a decade of picking cotton, and get back to us on 'original intent'.
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@John This is nonsense. If it were so, we wouldn't have the benefit of precedents, or constitutional amendents. And not only that, but experts in the law who are far more knowledgeable than you or I don't even agree on the "original meaning" of the Constitution. The idea that one side knows the meaning and the other side is "radical" is a recent, ultraconservative invention.
GSL (Columbus)
@John https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/living-constitution I suggest you read this. Anyone who suggests the Constitution should be interpreted according to “original intent” or “strict constructionism” is being intellectually dishonest to enable a political agenda. Slavery. Women’s suffrage. Assault rifles. There are as many impossible problems with interpreting the Constitution in accordance with the Founders’ “intent” as there are interpreting modern morality in accordance with the Gospel of John.
DJOHN (Oregon)
So Mr. Trump has nominated as many judges as Mr. Obama did in eight years, so what's the story? The story is that democrats don't feel that conservative judges are as qualified as their own nominations, and now use the ABA, among other political organs, to justify their position. It no longer matter whether judges are qualified or not, only whether they meet democratic standards to govern via the courts, rather than legislation, which seems to make it awkward for democrats to get re-elected. It would be great if the NYT would cover the realities of the situations around us, instead of looking and presenting stories as "real", when they are in fact politically motivated. Democrats, unfortunately, have become so shallow and pretentious that they actually believe they support "diversity". What a joke.
Jeff (California)
@DJOHN :This is hilarious from someone who supports Donald Trump's efforts to put far-right conservative judges on the bench no matter how unqualified they are. It is clear that Trump is attempting to shift the decision of the Courts from being pretty much in the middle to far right.
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@DJOHN It is conservatives who "NOW" use the Federalist Society, RATHER than the ABA, to just THEIR position.
O (MD)
@DJOHN What is real around us? Look around. An executive branch that is so utterly incompetent that it defies belief. A senate that will put their own shallow interests before the welfare of this country and in the most cynical manner possible. And a complete disregard for any sense of actual reality, where anything can be turned completed upside-down. Like, for instance, your two sentences. It's Alice in Wonderland time ... and I'm getting so very tired of it.
JH (Los Angeles)
This is truly the most damage he could do. It has been mostly, quietly, done too. Everyday I hear people wail about what trump is doing. And yet, he has been doing this since day one, with not a lot of coverage, except for some glaringly unprepared nominees. And this will have a long lasting, decades long, effect on our country. The conservative Christians have been talking about owning these courts since I was a young man and Reagan was president. Oral Roberts University and Bob Jones have been churning out lawyers specifically trained in these fields of conservative bent for decades now. Just waiting for this moment. And now they have it. And we will all suffer from this pernicious cancer that has been propagated throughout our judicial/appeals systems.
FLP (California)
@JH Neither law school mentioned is in the top ten, from which a greater percentage of Trump’s appointees hail than is the case with the percentages of the five predecessors to whom the article compares him.
Haile Selassie (Austin)
@JH He is a constitutionally elected president and has a right to nominate those judges. What have your liberal justices done to help blacks that have been on the receiving end of the justice system?
Dan (Lafayette)
@Haile Selassie I guess you’re gonna show those ineffective liberals. By applauding the installation of a far right federal bench that will work to put blacks in their place. I suspect that black Americans will find themselves pining for the good old pre-Trump days. But it will be too late.
Melvyn Magree (Dulutn MN)
What is a “conservative”? Is it a person who carefully looks at the facts to make a decision? Or is it a person who’s mind is made up and doesn’t want to be confused by the facts? I’m all for the first and very wary of the second.
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@Melvyn Magree Does it matter? Most of them won't even admit that they are "conservative" any more. They have replaced the term "correct thinking", so their opponents views are allowed to be considered.
Jeff (California)
@Melvyn Magree: The modern conservative is far right and puts government power first and individual liberty last which is the opposite of what a true conservative believes. .Trump Conservatives aren't true conservatives but modern fascists.
Ed Davis (Florida)
This has been in the works for decades. The GOP is playing a long game. Trump will be gone soon. They'll still be here. The GOP will wait him out & achieve their objectives. Their goal is to nominate 3-4 very conservative Supreme Court justices. Controlling SCOTUS is the grand slam that ends the ball game. Control SCOTUS & you win the Cultural wars. Control SCOTUS & you destroy the liberal agenda once & for all. If the GOP can pull this off they control the political agenda for another generation whether they win elections or not. Trump has gotten two SCOTUS appointments, he may get more. He’s moved much faster on lower-court appointments than Obama did. Republicans have confirmed 168 Trump-nominated judges, far in excess of appointments under Obama and Bush. Put together they form a kind of conservative judicial revolution that will impact all aspects of American life. This means Trump’s conservative imprint on the federal judiciary through sheer longevity will endure through cases involving state gun regulations, the environment, immigration, and abortion. The legal arm of the conservative movement is the best organized & most far-seeing sector of the Right. They truly are in it — and have been in it — for the long term goals. Control the Supreme Court, stack the judiciary to the sky, obstruct when necessary and you can destroy the progressive movement, no matter how popular it is, no matter how much legislative power it has. Nothing will get in the way of that goal.
John (New York)
@Ed Davis This would be one of the most devastating consequences of a Trump re-election (although there would be many). There would be a high percentage he would name at least one, a 50/50 chance of naming two, and a possibility of naming three more judges to replace progressives/moderates on the Court. Our society will profoundly change, and not for the better.
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@Ed Davis Its amazing that so few people understand this!
dmckj (Maine)
@John If this were to happen, there will be riots on the steps of SCOTUS, and rightfully so.
Sumit De (United States)
Reading about the argument Judge Barrett used regarding protecting a felon's Second Amendment rights, I could not help but think about arguments AGAINST letting felons vote in many conservative states (e.g. Florida). The hypocrisy of valuing the right to bear arms over the right to vote among conservatives clearly shows the dubious mental gymnastics there "originalist" play. "Judicial courage" seems to me to be code for conservative activism. But conservatives don't want activist judges, right?
From Where I Sit (Gotham)
The true hypocrisy is willfully ignoring the fact that both gun rights AND voting should be limited to non-felons.
Norville T. Johnston (New York)
@sumit de But liberals do want activist judges, so won’t they be happy now?
Rich (Chicago)
This will be the one of lasting nightmares of the Trump years. The Federalist Society is still a fringe group. Their thinking is far from mainstream.
The Comandante (Augascalientes)
Trump and conservative agendas and ideals wins. Game over.
O (MD)
@The Comandante Correct. Game Over. Decency Over. Democracy Over. America ... Over.
Earthbound (San Francisco)
@The Comandante You may have given up or ,alternately, declared victory, but it's far from over.
Devendra (Boston, MA)
All Presidents select Judges who they think are competent and similar to their way of thinking. This is done by ALL Presidents. The authors have spinned and distorted the record of these judges to paint them as unprincipaled shill for the Republicans which is absolutely agaianst the facts. More than 80% of the judgements by the Trump appointed judges are in consonance with the other judges. The Author flipped over it's head the Truth which is that these Trump appointed judges overwhelmingly agreed with the majority judges. How about looking at the record of Obama and Clinton appointed judges? Their disagreements are very close to the Trump appointed judges when it comes to disagreeing with the majority judges. The Liberals and the Left never complained when we saw decisions by the Liberal Judges which were confounding and out of the norm. They NEVER complained. Not even once. But now, they are all in a tizzy. It was the Democrats who broke all the collegiality tradition of the Senate in choosing judges. They removed the fillibuster. So, the crocodile tears do not impress any one. Just remember the old saying," What goes around, comes around." If you forget that one, how is this," As you sow so shall you reap." Democrats are reaping the whirlwind.
O (MD)
@Devendra They are indeed. But the problem is, we as a nation are reaping the whirlwind, and it's incredibly destructive. I suppose it's fun to gloat. But gloating among the smoking ruins of what was once a half-way decent country? Not so fun.
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@Devendra And the Republicans blocked HEARINGS for a judicial nominee in response, something that NEVER happened to Bork or any other conservative nominee. The question is whether THAT will come around, or be "reaped".
Misplaced Modifier (Former United States Of America)
All of the faces in the photo have one thing in common in my experience -- you can see the contempt in their eyes and expressions. How am I able to make such an observation? Because I have personally seen the face of a high-functioning malignant day-in-and-out for many years. Once you know one you can spot them a mile away. These are people who operate from a base of their own narrow and slippery worldview.
dmckj (Maine)
@Misplaced Modifier Agreed. It is the arrogance that comes from reverse-engineering from faith-based reality (and they amusingly call it 'humility' in their churches). The left does this at its fringes, but the right lives it.
Robert O. (St. Louis)
This pandemic has highlighted the need for more progressive policies that would not only help the most vulnerable but have advantages for our entire population. Our nation has a much diminished sense that in times of crisis we are all in this together. Policies, enacted by Republicans, favoring the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, and reinforced by right wing judges, have created our current atmosphere of every man for himself. If there is a shift in policy and leadership in the direction of greater social and economic justice and these right wing judges stand in the way, something will need to be done. I’m not sure what that would be but a drastic remedy may be called for. I believe that ramming these appointments through without adequate due diligence after blocking many potential appointments by President Obama places a cloud on their legitimacy. 
Andy (San Francisco)
Recall, recall, recall.... Many of these were deemed unfit by the ABA.
Airish (Washington, DC)
I was formerly an ABA member. I quit when it became obvious that the focus of the ABA was not helping its lawyer members in various ways (like most professional organizations), but rather pushing what were essentially left wing political positions held by activists in the organization who had been able to take over (a development largely supported by BigLaw partners who ran the group.) I recently saw that the ABA was forced to lay off a large number of staff and otherwise retrench due to a large and sustained decline in membership. Substantially less than half of practicing lawyers are now affiliated with the ABA. Guess I wasn’t the only one who decided to vote with my checkbook.
dmckj (Maine)
@Airish While that may be the case, it as well is true that those deemed as 'unqualified' by the ABA were, in fact, unqualified, as any casual review of their 'credentials' would reveal. It doesn't involve politics. It does involve basic professional standards. That being the case, a PC ABA is not a good thing for anyone.
Jack (Houston)
@Airish: That was true even in 1980, when I decided whether to join the ABA. Easy call not to send my firm’s money to promote political (not legal-professional) positions I opposed. Someone’s reply to my post said the legal establishment is complicit in the politicization of the judiciary. Very true, but it’s almost all BigLaw and especially the professoriate taking left of center policy positions and the bulk of lawyers being too busy with their work to buck the establishment. The negative comes from voters, who are rightly disgusted with judicial usurpation—to the point that they will elect even a manifestly unfit person to our highest office in order to not be overrun from the bench in a culture war. Lost in the noise is attentiveness to which judges allow voters to make policy rather than impose their own. There is too much talk of the people’s voice from those who deem it valid only when it echoes their own.
th (missouri)
The GOP enabled Russian coup hasn't slowed down like everything else in the country. You can be sure they are moving swiftly to destroy democracy.
Steve Davies (Tampa, Fl.)
One of the biggest failures of the corporate Democratic Party is its failure to have enough power to block the appointment of unqualified, right-wing, Trump loyalists to the federal court and SCOTUS. Trump's judicial picks are incapable of and unwilling to respect the rule of law or be fair and impartial...just what you'd expect from people favored by Trump. I'd hope that if an ethical president and Congress ever happens in this country again, that many of these judges can be removed. And that would include Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Thomas. Thomas' wife has long been a virulent GOP operative; he should have resigned due to conflicts of interest.
Piotr Ogorek (New York)
Ever hear if the 9th Circuit? Fair and impartial? Ha !
Norville T. Johnston (New York)
@steven david What makes them unqualified?
BC (NJ)
If I was unsure whether President Trump deserved another 4 years, I’m not any longer. Thank you New York Times for convincing me that President Trump should be re-elected. Sounds like he is making the Judiciary Great Again!
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@BC That the ultra-right wing "Federalist Society" is in control of realigning the "impartial judiciary" is a reason to support Trump's re-election? Or, are you trying to claim that this group of people actually could be impartial? Please, explain!
D.jjk (South Delaware)
Conservatism has a violent side. They have to have it there way every day and they are fueling Trumps authoritarian demands. So where is this a free Democracy. Our system of democracy has failed and when only one side gets to pick their own leaders and won’t share the power will only cause the end to our America . I am sure our founding fathers are very sad to see this happening thanks to our profoundly immoral Trump.
Rachel (New Englad)
Having never believed in term limits for either Congress or the Federal Judiciary, I now do. Two terms for US Senators, 6 terms for Congressmen or 4 3 year terms, but in either case, no more than 12 years in Congress for either Senators of Congressman. This will prevent the concentration of power in one party, person or staff and allow for younger members to rise, new ideas to gain traction and for a truer reflection of a rapidly changing society. And, to address campaign finance issues as well. As to the Federal Bench, a judicial appointment should be the capstone of a legal career and not the entire career. A judgeship should go to those who have practiced for years and have been in the trenches. Supreme Court Justices should be time limited to 20 or 25 years. Appeals, District Court and all other manor of Federal Judicial Appointments should be for 15 or 20 years. These judges are insulated from the trials of daily life in an ivory tower worse than faculty at a university. Deferred to and lords of their Courtrooms, they rule as they see fit. It is time to allow for turnover on the Federal bench, to prevent what is happening now and what could happen in the future. It is time to allow for a judiciary that reflects the society we have become: diverse, dynamic, changing, challenging. Lifetime appointments belie the ability of a court system to keep up with these changes. It is time to amend the US Constitution to make these changes. To make our nation a true democracy.
GMooG (LA)
@Rachel Funny how liberals are calling for changes to "the system" now, when they don't have the Senate or the Presidency. I don't remember these calls to change the system when the Dems were winning elections.
Anthony Flack (New Zealand)
It's twisted that the Senate has the task of appointing the judiciary. How do you expect to have an independent judiciary if the process of appointing judges is political and nakedly partisan?
Rachel (New Englad)
@Anthony Flack Read the US Constitution. That will explain our system. Elected judges would be a disaster. An alternative would be a Judicial Appointment Council, which some state have. But, that would take an amendment to the Constitution and this will never, ever, happen.
O (MD)
@Rachel Which is pretty unfortunate. France, which started right around the time we did, is on version 5.0 of their constitution. We, on the other hand, seem to have a substantial number of the judiciary which believe that it makes sense to run our country using a document that is hundreds of year old. And not just judicial fundamentalists - even casual people writing in from New England are dead sure that our Constitution could "ever, ever" be amended. Probably correct, but is that a good thing? No. Why is it that whenever we engage in nation-building that we never, ever recommend the system we use to run our country? Because it's absurd to think that it could work in the modern era.
gpickard (Luxembourg)
@O Dear O, All we have to do is amend the constitution. Is been done many times. It does take an act of congress and popular vote, but we repealed Prohibition, what is stopping any other new amendments? Perhaps it is that some of the things you want to change are not that popular? The Constitution was not meant to be driven by any one person's opinion. But you know this....
Brian (Here)
This is what comes from decades of the Democratic party ignoring the import of lower level governance and of the issues in heartland USA. A little more Midwest mindfulness, a little less gerrymandering, a few more statehouses, and we might have a Congress more concerned about the center of the country, both politically and geographically. And a Federal court system that is a lot more representative of us all. Hopefully, this lesson has been learned once and for all. Waiting for everyone to be disgusted by Trump may help us a little, four years later. But there's a lot of ground to make up.
BayArea101 (Midwest)
What I take away from this piece is that the game has been dialed-up, and I doubt that it will be dialed back down no matter who we elect in the coming years. We are in uncharted territory here, and we've been working on getting here for the past half-century. I believe that's worth remembering.
Tanya (Seattle)
The night Trump won his electoral college victory, I cried for my 17 year old daughter and two sons (20 and 22) and what their lives will be like once Trump and Mitch started filling the courts with people just like these. This was my worst fear of a Trump presidency. For those in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania who are the ages of my children and refrained from voting or voted for Jill Stein, I hope you have sleepless nights too. This will impact your lives so much more than mine. And I hope you will always remember why you are living in a country where decisions by courts don’t reflect the culture or will of the country. And your role in making it so.
Ed Williamson (Tennessee)
Tanya: “ And I hope you will always remember why you are living in a country where decisions by courts don’t reflect the culture or will of the country” That the courts follow the culture of the country would result in disaster. Judges, I fervently hope, follow the Constitution, which is graved in granite. Would you have had the courts follow the culture of the 60s? Your thought process is precisely the reason the electoral college exists.
Rachel (New Englad)
@Tanya You are correct. Most Americans do not even understand their state, much less the Federal court system. School do not teach civics anymore. I vote for the court appointments. Trump and his evil partners in this have been a disaster.
Piotr Ogorek (New York)
Ours is a culture of perversion. I’m hoping Trump and decent judges can reverse that.
Larry M (Minnesota)
This predates Trump, and one person hugely responsible for this outcome is Ralph Nader. His self-absorbed and self-deluding run in 2000 was sufficient to make the difference in that election, and we are suffering the consequences described in this story.
Listening to Others (San Diego, CA)
For all the Bernie supporters that think Bernie is going to generate a revolution or do all those wonderful things he keep saying on the campaign trail. He will accomplish close to nothing. Here is the list of the Republican/conservative "Wall of Defense." Throw in the Senate majority, Supreme Court majority and Attorney Generals from Republican States for checkmate on a Sanders presidency. Sanders' supporters were angry and short-sighted in 2016 and helped to elect Donald Trump. Sanders primary voters that switched and voted for Donald Trump. PA - 16%, MI - 10% and WI - 12%. This article should give Bernie Bros part of the credit: A Conservative/Bernie Bros Agenda Unleashed on the Federal Courts.
IN (New York)
The Trump appointed judges are so extremely conservative and politically partisan that they will threaten the reputation of the judicial system as being fair, impartial, and about the law. This will, in effect, damage the court’s effectiveness and may eventually undermine the popular will of the majority of Americans, who live in a more diverse America and desire a more progressive society that reflects that diversity,
GMooG (LA)
@IN That's exactly what the conservatives said about the Warren court.
RoyS (Salt Lake City, UT, USA)
My inklings are that VP Pence has a lot of influence on Pres Trump with regards to stacking the courts with those who are in tuned with Pence's ideology. Myself, I can't see Potus caring about if women have abortions nor about LGBTQ rights. However, I can remember all of the hoopla VP Pence received for some of the controversial laws that were signed into Indiana law by him. To me its his way at getting even, while being out of the lime light, after all the backlash he faced being Governor of Indiana.
John Gilday (Nevada)
President Trumps appointments have broad support among conservatives and Christians in America. Just because they are not supported by the left does not make these judges wrong. They will support and uphold laws that are important and embraced by a large number of Americans.
O (MD)
@John Gilday A large number but not most. By any stretch. And as time marches on, the demographic shift will continue and the gap between what the majority of the country want and the minority want will widen. It will become untenable, and by some means or another, it will change.
Ron Cordova (California)
"Large numbers" does not mean a majority of Americans. It's a less than clever use of weasel words to avoid and obfuscate.
Dan (Denver, Co.)
Actions have consequences. Democrats exercised the 'nuclear option' that required 60 votes to confirm a federal judge during the Obama administration. After that a simple majority of Senators was all that was needed for confirmation. Now that the tables have turned the predictable whining from Democrats and the left is hard to miss. Politics as usual.
Jesse Larner (NYC)
@Dan The Democrats had no choice but to remove the filibuster because McConnell, in a shocking and unprecedented abuse of power that prefigured his later abuse of power in regard to Merrick Garland's nomination, blocked *every one* of Obama's appeals court nominees, regardless of merit. Our system was not designed for these kinds of bad faith actions, and the Democrats were forced to respond.
PLMD (California)
I never heard any complaints when the federal courts were overloaded with partisan liberals. They still are, although Trump has made inroads to balance the courts.
Rachel (New Englad)
@PLMD You are wrong. The right wing constantly complained about activist judges when the decision were to "liberal" for them. What a joke! These right wingers are more activist than anything the so-called liberals ever pulled. They are delving into all aspects of our personal freedoms-the right to control our bodies, who we marry, the ability to vote, and on and on. They are imposing their personal morality on the rest of us whether we agree or not. Wake up! This will effect you at some point and you will not like it.
armondavid (Miami, Florida)
Senate Republicans broke with constitutional consensus when they set out to rewrite the Constitution, taking the position to not even consider any candidate nominated by President Obama after Justice Scalia’s death February 2016; on the grounds that presidential elections were to be held November 2016, and only after new elections were held and new president inaugurated January 20 would they accept new nominees. This was without any precedent in U.S. The Constitution states presidential terms end Jan 20 after elections, not February before elections The millions of voters who elected President Obama had a constitutional right that their vote be honorEd up to Jan 20. In nullifying an important constitutional function of office, Republican senators blatantly swept aside the Constitution’s limits, robbing American voters of their election. Snd they also eliminated filibusters in Supreme Court nominations. This, if Democrats win the Senate, they must consider expanding federal judiciary and Supreme Court until advantaged gained through extraconstitutional means are nullified. Including totally eliminating the antidemocratic/autocratic filibuster - unless a new Democratic administration prefers to see new elections shot at its knees by another 400 Senate filibusters. Republicans broke Humpty Dumpty already. It’s too late to put it back now. Allowing the current status quo to remain only will ratify extra constitutional ill-gotten gains that will go on and on for decades to come
Neil (Texas)
I join others below in complimenting this excellent and comprehensive reporting. And of course, as a Republican - I rejoice in this outcome. While I may quibble about tiny percentages of differences between Obama, W and Trump judges - but the trend of adhering to the constitution and so called ”originalist” thinking - is most welcome. The article could have also pointed out that the 9th circuit holds a dubious distinction of losing EVERY appeal to SCOTUS. The immigration issues are the most recent - where they are batting worse than a pitcher average - actually 0.000 I was never an ardent pro Trump or a Never Trumper - but as a mainstream life long Republican - our POTUS has adhered close to Republican principles of law and order. And more importantly, to what the Chief Justice has best described ”calling balls and strikes”. In other forums, I urge fellow Republicans and others to reelect our POTUS - simply because of the radical impact he will have on judiciary in the next 4 years.
O (MD)
@Neil If the President of the United States - the one in office currently - has ".. adhered close to Republican principles of law and order ..." -- well, that explains just about everything we need to know about the Republican party and mindset. Time for a change, and not a moment too soon. We are pretty much in flames now in terms of a functioning nation. Our democracy is just above over. And our future is dire indeed. Four more years of this guy? You really want the chaos, the actual danger to our concept of democracy, and the utter flouting of the rule of law? I never imagined that 40% of our electorate could descend to a level of nihilism that would absorb the last three and a half years and then ask for more ... but this actually appears to the case. Incredible. History, if there is someone left to write it, will not be kind to this era.
Neil (Texas)
I join others below in complimenting this excellent and comprehensive reporting. And of course, as a Republican - I rejoice in this outcome. While I may quibble about tiny percentages of differences between Obama, W and Trump judges - but the trend of adhering to the constitution and so called ”originalist” thinking - is most welcome. The article could have also pointed out that the 9th circuit holds a dubious distinction of losing EVERY appeal to SCOTUS. The immigration issues are the most recent - where they are batting worse than a pitcher average - actually 0.000 I was never an ardent pro Trump or a Never Trumper - but as a mainstream life long Republican - our POTUS has adhered close to Republican principles of law and order. And more importantly, to what the Chief Justice has best described ”calling balls and strikes”. In other forums, I urge fellow Republicans and others to reelect our POTUS - simply because of the radical impact he will have on judiciary in the next 4 years.
O (MD)
@Neil Pretty good at the copy and paste function ... not sure if helps the case much, though.
J.C. (Michigan)
I don't call these conservative judges, I call them Republican judges. Let's be honest about what they are. They vote on the courts the same way Republican politicians vote, right down the party line, not the way the law directs them to. They are the famous "activist judges" that Republicans always used to scream and cry about. But now that they're appointing them, no complaints at all. It's just peachy.
Peter Aretin (Boulder, Colorado)
We now see the danger in letting an ignorant megalomaniac make lifetime appointments to such a crucial branch of our government, calling into question its independence and seeking to make the judiciary a mere extension of executive power. The American political right wing has made great strides in its drive to establish permanent governance by an unrepresentative political minority, a near coup. An entrenched right wing judiciary can distort future elections. John Roberts, for instance, has publicly expressed the view that the Constitutions mandates that only legislatures can effect election districting, hinting at the possibility of nearly intractable gerrymanders. Some remedy is needed to prevent our democracy from becoming a chrysocracy.
Neil (Texas)
I join others below in complimenting this excellent and comprehensive reporting. And of course, as a Republican - I rejoice in this outcome. While I may quibble about tiny percentages of differences between Obama, W and Trump judges - but the trend of adhering to the constitution and so called ”originalist” thinking - is most welcome. The article could have also pointed out that the 9th circuit holds a dubious distinction of losing EVERY appeal to SCOTUS. The immigration issues are the most recent - where they are batting worse than a pitcher average - actually 0.000 I was never an ardent pro Trump or a Never Trumper - but as a mainstream life long Republican - our POTUS has adhered close to Republican principles of law and order. And more importantly, to what the Chief Justice has best described ”calling balls and strikes”. In other forums, I urge fellow Republicans and others to reelect our POTUS - simply because of the radical impact he will have on judiciary in the next 4 years.
Socrates (Downtown Verona. NJ)
There were 103 unfilled federal court openings when Trump showed up - and a Supreme Court opening - because Monarch Mitch McConnell decided to suspend the United States Constitution for Barack Obama, Merrick Garland and many highly qualified nominees. What we have here, plain and simple, is a right-wing political hijacking in broad daylight, a Republican coup d'etat much akin to Putin's fake judiciary in Russia where all justice defers to oligarchs....no peasants need apply. This is why Democrats, independents and Republicans with a conscience need to vote Democratic for President, House and Senate in November. This why we need to defeat the undemocratic Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and elect his Democratic opponent Amy McGrath as Senator. Republicans can't stand America or the will of its people.
GMooG (LA)
@Socrates "...Monarch Mitch McConnell decided to suspend the United States Constitution for Barack Obama, Merrick Garland and many highly qualified nominees." Please, tell us exactly which part of the Constiutution you think was "suspended"? Then, tell us why, if the Senate illegally "suspended" the Constittion, the Dems didn't do anything about it? Or why Obama, a professor of Constitutional law, didn't say or do anything about this illegal "suspension" of the Constitution?
Tom Krebsbach (Washington)
So what we are left with as the overall population of America becomes more progressive is a bunch of conservative hacks, many of them not qualified, who will continue to rule through the years against the prevailing opinion of Americans. Perhaps as progressive politicians gain power, they need to seriously consider whether many of these judges are truly qualified for the positions they are in and decide to remove them from the federal bench if they are not.
Detachment Is Possible (NYC - SF)
Liberal legislations will have to start again originating in the legislature and the congress will not be able to delegate governance and law making to the admin pseudo branch of the government. I will gladly abide by the outcomes presuming them to be the will of the people rather than the will of the people who know better.
ehillesum (michigan)
The conservative agenda is to apply the constitution and the law as written. It is the left that wants to use the law as a means to an end. The Constitution has a provision for amending it—conservative judges follow that and leave it to the people to amend the Constitution; liberal judges take it upon themselves, like judicial dictators, to amend the Constitution. Look at everything Justice Sotamayor has written for evidence of that. So the unleashing is actually leashing and bringing back judges to apply the law and to stop legislating.
Jesse Larner (NYC)
@ehillesum Nonsense. So-called "conservative" judges are absolutely driven by their idea of what society should be, not by upholding the law. And they are FAR more activist than any "liberal" ( which is to say, mainstream) judge.
Michael (USA)
When you can predict the manner in which a judge will vote based on the president that appointed him / her, the judiciary risks becoming irrelevant. With Congress already irrelevant what does that leave? a strong executive also known as a king.
ss (Boston)
'they’re reliable policy agents' All the judges are, in fairness. Starting from Supreme Court, which gives an excellent example of that, all 9 of them, more or less. Trump has actually been rather shrewd there, in terms of using his prerogatives shamelessly, realizing that the law is a bit of second fiddle for the majority of judges. Time and again - we should remove lifetime appointments thus diminishing chances for things like this to happen, or to, quite absurdly, judge how firmly a supreme court nominee is on 'ours' / 'their' side.
kirk (montana)
The wealthy have bought the judges they want by funding the fake 'federalist society' and brainwashing inferior minds into thinking they understood the 'intent' of the founding fathers. This is a constitutional crisis that was openly touted by lewis f. powell in the early 70's. Since it was an intentional purchase of the courts by illegitimate means, there is a good argument to impeach the worst of them once the Democrats regain power. Vote in November for freedom, liberty and transparency.
Doctor B (White Plains, NY)
Ever since the days of the liberal Warren court, Republicans have criticized judges for being activists who attempt to legislate from the bench. But what we have today is an unprecedented crop of young judges who make no bones about their desire to achieve, from the bench, certain contentious & controversial policy goals. A history of overt political activism has historically been a reason to avoid putting a person on the court. Under Trump, the GOP has gleefully discarded this principle, rendering our courts an unelected force for conservative policies which run contrary to the wishes of most Americans.
citybumpkin (Earth)
The lower court appointments is a merely preview of things to come. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 85 years old. Stephen Breyer is 81 years old. Realistically, we have to anticipate that their positions on the court will open up in the next presidential term. That's yet another reason the stakes are very high this November. If Trump wins a second term and the Republicans continue to control the Senate, then the only divide on the Supreme Court will be different flavors of conservatives. They may have some academic disagreements about what justification they will give for gutting abortion rights, voter rights, or limits on executive authority... but that's about it.
lil (NY)
@citybumpkin Gorsuh and Kavanaugh should be removed too. Anything Trump was involved with should go!
HurryHarry (NJ)
"many of the Trump appointees have benefited from Republicans’ decision to extend a contentious and partisan confirmation path that upended bipartisan Senate practices." That's putting it delicately. You might have mentioned exactly what it was that was "extended" - which happens to be Democrat Harry Reid's decision to end the filibuster for lower court nominees. Republicans merely continued along the path set by that worthy gentleman.
S.P. (MA)
@HurryHarry —Use of the filibuster required observation of a norm, to be honored by both political parties. That was the norm that a sitting president was entitled to judicial appointments based on judicial qualifications, and not blocked for reasons of ideology except in extreme cases. McConnell ended that norm, and started using the filibuster to starve Democrats of judicial appointments. Reid countered by ending the filibuster for appointments below the Supreme Court, to get around McConnell's obstruction. That left in place the critically important bi-partisanship at the top of the judicial system—which at least meant that errors made below could ultimately be corrected. McConnell then lunged for the catastrophic option—abolishing bi-partisanship in the judiciary entirely, from the Supreme Court on down. The initiative for that loathsome, destructive cynicism is all on the Republicans.
Jesse Larner (NYC)
@HurryHarry And why did Reid have to do that? Because McConnell, in an absolutely unprecedented abuse of power, was blocking *every single Obama nominee,* regardless of merit; thus putting pure partisanship above the national interest. Our system was not designed to withstand this kind of bad faith. The Democrats had no choice but to act. Blame McConnell's cynical disregard for democracy and the Constitution.
HurryHarry (NJ)
"That was the norm that a sitting president was entitled to judicial appointments based on judicial qualifications, and not blocked for reasons of ideology except in extreme cases." @S.P. - The ABA accorded Judge Kavanaugh its highest rating but Senator Schumer and others pledged to do everything in their power to block his nomination - and this was before sexual harassment allegations were unleashed against Kavanaugh. To counter that Kavanaugh was an "extreme case" would be laughable, except that to the Democratic Party every Republican appointee is an extreme case - and must be blocked at all costs.
DadInReston (Northern Virginia)
There is a solution to the Republican's unprecedented effort to appoint partisan conservatives to the bench in an effort to tilt the judiciary hard to the right. When Democrats take the White House and the Senate, they should expand the lower courts and pack them with Democratic appointees. Democrats could also block any attempted filibusters by citing "the McConnell rule," which removed filibusters from judicial appointments. This would have a better chance of succeeding than packing the Supreme Court, since, as Sen. Feinstein said, ”Americans are certainly aware of Supreme Court nominations, but most don’t pay close attention to the lower courts, which can have an even more direct effect on their lives.”
Gregg Duval (Lorient)
@DadInReston First, it was Harry Reid and not Mitch McConnell who eliminated the 60 vote requirement for closure on District and Circuit Court judges. Second, this idea that the Republicans are the first to come up with the idea of appointing judges who follow their politics is meritless. When my father was being vetted by the democrats (he was a Clinton appointee), the first thing they asked him was whether he supported Roe v Wade, which was followed by do you support the expansion of affirmative action and then stronger gun control laws. Both parties do the same thing when they get into power. Stacking courts (presumably you mean the Circuit courts) is a short sighted concept, much like Reid's. When the Republicans get back into power they will either dismantle what the Democrats did, or just follow suit. Elections have consequences, those who are unhappy with the makeup of the Federal Court bench should make their voices heard at the ballot box. Changing the system to meet your needs in the short-run will only result in people making the same mistake over and over (see Reid's decision above)
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Gregg Duval It's naive, foolish, or dishonest (you pick) to think Mitch and his partners would not have eliminated the 60-vote rule anyway, just as they did eliminate the blue-slip rule to stop all Democratic Senators from having the slightest voice in the choice of judges. The Democrats have never stacked the courts with extreme left-wing ideologues. In fact, they have never even nominated even one left-wing extremist of any kind. It is absolutely only the Republicans who have been stacking the courts with extremist ideologues.
Vincent (Ct)
Lady justice has taken off her blindfold.
Socrates (Downtown Verona. NJ)
For those who are not excited about Joe Biden as their Democratic candidate didn't win the nomination, wake up and vote Democratic anyway. Presidential elections are not just about electing a President, it's about what kind of public policy, what kind of judges, what kind of justice and what kind of nation you want. Republicans want a nation of Randian Reverse Robin Hood Robber Barons shaping all the laws and the courts that judge the laws and the Congress that legislates those laws. Democrats want a nation that considers the interests of 330 million people, not just the 330 oligarchic billionaires that own the current Congress. Republicans are at war with democracy, the non-rich, representative government and the will of the people. Republicans are working hard at their tyranny of the radical right-wing minority. Wake up. Fight back. Vote Democratic.
J.C. (Michigan)
@Socrates I would vote for Biden ONLY because of the court appointments. In my opinion, he has nothing else to offer.
Miguel G (Southern California)
@Socrates You're just now waking up? The Judiciary. This is why many of us voted for Trump in the first place. Rather than create law via the Legislature, Liberals are using the Courts. Ok, then it makes sense to appoint Conservatives the Courts. Let's get back to the Legislature passing laws, and the Courts not making law. The Conservative / Liberal debates belong in the Legislature and not in the Courts.
jps (idaho)
@Socrates What? Democrats want a nation that considers the wishes of 330 million citizens? Please remember that about half of us voted to elect Pres. Trump to appoint new judges, among other things, so how about a little consideration for those of us who wish for judges that stick to the law instead of ruling in a manner that suits their personal opinions. And where do you and others come up with this nonsense that we Republicans are at "war"with democracy and the will of the people? Good grief.
Ben (Chicago)
It's important not to generalize, to brand everyone a wild-eyed, right-wing incompetent just because Trump appointed him (or her). Trump appointees have ranged from the brilliant-and-mildly-conservative to, yes, the ignorant-and-downright-crazy. Some have had considerable judicial experience; others have had none at all, not even much litigation experience. To take just one court as an example, the four judges Trump appointed to the court of appeals in Chicago have proved excellent on the whole -- and I say that as a liberal Democrat. They're smart, and they write beautifully. Their decisions are well-reasoned. Their political affiliation does not make the outcomes of cases predictable. Prisoners and plaintiffs, the "little guys," actually win sometimes. The government and big corporations actually lose. But not all courts of appeals have been so fortunate. Trump's judicial appointments have been a bit like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get.
MB (California)
Well you better hope the little guy never ends up in front of Kavanagh and Gorsuch, because it’ll big money, Republican donors over fairness and “constitutionality” every day of the week and twice on Sundays. For people who are ardent “constitutionalists” they have a remarkable ability to misinterpret every chance they get. Some of the framers got human rights wrong because they only saw white men of power as human and I guess that’s what these “constitutionalists” are all about. When you hear Conservative and Constitution, it’s code for: White men of power first, white men of less power next, big money equal to white men of power, and everyone else can just eat dirt.
Joe B. (Center City)
Wow, what an incredibly diverse group! White supremacy is a life-long appointment. White robes exchanged for black robes with a paycheck from the dreaded gub’mint.
Robin (NJ)
@Joe B. but it's Trump - are you really surprised?
S.P. (MA)
"The last time so many vacancies had been left to a successor of the opposing party was when the federal bench was expanded by dozens of judges under President George H.W. Bush." Folks inclined to panic over Trump's court appointments should reflect on that quote from the article. There is nothing unconstitutional, or even unusual, about expanding the judiciary. It has been done multiple times. When Democrats assemble sufficient political power to do what they want with appointments, they can expand the judiciary again. There is no need to panic about the next election, just because you fear Trump's court appointments.
Peter Aretin (Boulder, Colorado)
@S.P. Republicans did not create new judgeships, they blocked filling existing ones until there was a very large backlog, the most flagrant example being the refusal to even consider Merrick Garland's nomination to SCOTUS.
Bodyman (Santa Cruz, Ca)
Oh yes there is a need to panic, S.P. How would you feel about a Supreme Court that might rule it’s okay for Trump to cancel an election? Then how would we add more judges?
Jesse Larner (NYC)
@Peter Aretin That's a separate issue from what S.P. is talking about.
Mauricio (Houston)
"Mr. Trump’s appointments reflected attempts by recent presidents to draw the federal judiciary — a constitutionally independent branch of government — into policy debates more appropriate in Congress and the White House." Huh? What an odd statement. I'm old enough to remember June of last year when the Supreme Court ruled that partisan redistricting is a political question — not reviewable by federal courts — and that those courts can't judge if extreme gerrymandering violates the Constitution. https://nyti.ms/2KG81db
Michael Bello (Mountain View, CA)
After electing a new president, and securing majorities in both the House and the Senate the time will come for a major cleanup. All Trump appointees must go. That's given. Nominations to the Supreme Court should be revisited. Merrick Garland should be appointed instead of Neil Gorsuch. Brett Kavanaugh nomination should be nullified. All nominations that did not meet usual standards should be revoked. Judicial nominations made by a criminal are invalid.
CP (NJ)
@Michael Bello, nice dream, and I like it. Still, we're going to have to go forward with what we have, not what we wish we had. Small satisfaction, perhaps: when Trump is defeated in November (let's hope) and Democrats regain both houses of congress (let's really hope!), Trump will face a variety of criminal charges and "stuff" will come out that may help cleanse the judicial system. On the other hand, all these arch-conservatives are in place to make sure that even if Trump is defeated, he has a soft landing, perhaps a sweetheart deal of immunity, or more likely someone on the bench who'll find an excuse to "totally exonerate" him despite any evidence to the contrary. No, all this won't end with his defeat, but it's a vital and urgent first step - and democracy's last hope.
Gregg Duval (Lorient)
@Michael Bello So if the Republicans win the WH, Senate & House you will be okay with them removing all judges and the Supreme Court Justices appointed by Democratic Presidents? Perhaps a review of the Golden Rule is in order.
LT (Toronto, Ontario)
@Michael Bello I agree, but sadly the Dems would never to that, they always play by the rules, and lose and then whine. Republicans don't play by the rules, and win. It's fine to be righteous as long as you don't mind always losing.
rd (dallas, tx)
When I was in law school in 1980, the Federalist Society was seen as extremist as the libertarian party or even communist party. It was generally occupied by a few members in each school that were viewed -putting it kindly - as quirky outliers. I am down right scared that it is now the source for lifetime appointed federal judges.
Paul E (Colorado Springs)
@rd there's lots of Koch money behind it.
PaulB67 (South Of North Carolina)
@rd: indeed. These two entities aren't interested in non-partisan, independent jurists on the federal bench. Instead, they are looking for and training young judges to be right wing conservative ideologues on key matters coming to the courts. At its very heart, the Federalist Society want to overturn the bedrock Court decision, Marbury v Madison, which established the bedrock principle of judicial review. What they want is for local and district courts -- not the Supreme Court -- to control the judicial narrative over certain Constitutional mandates. One example: the FSociety believes that states rights should decide matters like racial segregation without the possibility of a Supreme Court overturning lower court rulings upholding segregation.I The current majority on SCOTUS are all graduates of the Federalist Society. Which means that the came to the highest court in the land predisposed to decides cases according to a philosophy that is grounded in property rights, the narrowing of rights of women and minorities, and rampant libertarianism -- unlimited gun rights, money as speech, and Christianity as the nation's official religion. This fine article documents nothing less than an organized assault on judicial independence, and a radical sabotage of the Rule of Law.
moab mike (utah)
these aren't "judges" in the traditional sense of the word. they are partisan activists...and are toxic to our nation...unless of course, as James Dannenberg said in his resignation from the Supreme Court Bar yesterday you are "wealthy, Republican, White, straight, Christian, and armed males"...the only ones who seem to matter any more to the republican machine.
Molly Ciliberti (Seattle)
Are any of these judges qualified?
Dan (Lafayette)
@Molly Ciliberti They are qualified per the far right ideological test of the Federalist Society.
th (missouri)
@Molly Ciliberti Unlikely if Trump appointed them.
Sherry (Washington)
Abortion is already out of reach for poor women and girls. A Republican panel of the Ninth Circuit, including two Trump judges, wrote that the gag order on doctors informing patients about clinics was ok because there’s always the internet. Of course their precious wives and daughters will always have access to healthcare because if extremist Republicans are anything, they are loathsome hypocrites.
Me (Here)
Lifetime tenure is not a workable idea anymore when people live 90 years and stay on the bench for life. To those minority and young voters not "turned on" by Hillary who didn't vote in 2016 as polls indicated, like they did in 2008 and 2012 for Obama, here's your enduring legacy. To those same people who are not excited by Biden in 2020, wait until you see what this country does to you for the next 40 years with 51 more ultra-far right wing conservative judges. Only kidding. I know you can't be bothered.
J.C. (Michigan)
@Me Older people crowned Joe Biden the candidate because, according to them, he is the most electable and has the biggest coalition. If neither of those things turn out to be true, and you're wrong (again!), don't hang that on young voters. You broke it, you bought it, just like 2016.
LT (Toronto, Ontario)
@Me Which is the funny part. The young voters are the one that will have to live with these decisions for decades and decades. Well, funny but not really.
MB (California)
Unless Democrats get a majority in the Senate and quickly move to obliterate McConnell’s legacy, nothing will change. We need more than Biden. His ascendency is very disappointing as would have Bernie’s been. But let’s keep the eyes on the prize. Total control of all chambers. A lot has to be undone.
Jimal (Connecticut)
This is - and has always been - the end game, and why Republicans have put up with this embarrassment of an Administration. Because Trump doesn't know who any of these nominees are, and he lacks the basic curiosity to learn anything about them, he rubber stamps whomever the Federalist Society recommends.
Samuel (Colorado)
This is simply called court packing.
Lee Herring (NC)
@Samuel This is not 'packing the court'. Look it up. The only recent court packing was done by Harry Reid for Obama's legislation protection.
O (MD)
@Lee Herring It's two punches: 1. Hold up every possible judge you can while your enemy is in office. This creates an enormous backlog. 2. As soon as you get your guy in, unleash the floodgates. The democrats never did anything like that. But then, Mitch McConnell is a true pioneer when it comes to the cynical abuse of power and procedure.
Dakota T (ND)
Ah, yes, I vividly remember the article bemoaning unleashing the "wise Latina" onto the SCOTUS in this very newspaper. Not. Get used to it, both sides will pick the judges ideologically aligned with themselves. And both sides will only bemoan the choices of the opposition.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Dakota T Bull, due perhaps to your inability to recognize the difference between well-judged American idealism in the person of, for example, Sotomayor, and outright right-wing extremism as represented by many of Trump's and several of Bush II's appointments. Your "unleashing" shows you have bad judgement.
Lee Herring (NC)
On the SCOTUS, Dems vote in a block far more than Repubs. Does that bother you? See how Repubs may have felt the same as you do now for the past few decades?
Sean Cairne (San Deign)
Once the American people take back the presidency and the US Senate we must remove these far right-wing judges and stack the Supreme Court with young justices.
Lee Herring (NC)
@Sean Cairne: And how are you going to remove them Sean?
O (MD)
@Lee Herring If the Senate and the House turn blue, it will work just as well to add some more to the bench. Or maybe it's time for DC and Puerto Rico to finally become states. Also kind of interesting to look carefully at the unique history of Texas through the lens of multi-statehood. It's time, I believe, for the Dems to stop being "decent". The new phrase should be "when they go low, we go lower."
J.C. Hayes (San Francisco)
Reform of our process for appointing and keeping people in federal appeals courts is long overdue. We can start with term limits for all federal judges, including those on the Supreme Court. There should be a more rigorous evaluation process for nominees (not just one run by the Federalist Society). We should consider adding two seats to the Supreme Court. We should find a way to limit the role of dark money in the nominations and approval process. It is often said that Trump destroys everything he touches. By this article, it looks like an independent federal judiciary has become one of the victims.
KBronson (Louisiana)
A genuinely liberal open mind is not threatened by a lack of consensus or by open dissent. They are not threatened by a few people expressing their differing values by non-participation. Much of the left today is anything but liberal. It attempts to bully and threaten judges.
MEH (Ontario)
@KBronson who is much of the left? Partisanship on each side is toxic to democracy
Stephen Holland (Nevada City)
@KBronson , bullying or threatening is neither an inherent quality of left nor right, everybody has their bullies and cranks. But how can you ignore the Bully in Chief; he’s perfecting the art. And he has a deplorable history of slamming sitting judges that disagree with him, especially “Obama” judges.
Kay Johnson (Colorado)
Stacking the courts with unqualified people who are picked for ideological purity rather than knowledge of the law is not acceptable and has to be confronted. Law is about justice. That is not the right wing goal, sorry.
Kona030 (HNL)
Confirming hand picked ideologues from the Federalist Society has been the only thing the senate has done since 2017..... And this is priority #1 for republicans because its the one way they'll make sure no woman is able to get an abortion and that no people of color will be able to vote....
Anonymous (United States)
It’s really the Republican Party’s imprint on the courts. Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing.
Thomas (Washington DC)
The fundamental problem here is that millions of Americans have been disenfranchised by the grossly outmoded political system established by the founders. It wasn't good back in the day (slavery, no vote for women etc.) and it is no good today. We are ruled by a minority and by corporations who have been granted the rights of people. The conservatives can crow now but the majority of this country being abused by them ultimately aren't going to stand for it. My concern with Biden and Dems in general is that they will repeat the errors of the Obama terms and fail to play the game as ruthlessly and hypocritically as Republicans do to win.
Melvyn Magree (Dulutn MN)
@Thomas “Conservatives” vote for anybody who might further their “agenda”. “Liberals” stay home if the Democratic candidate has any flows. I would prefer to vote Republican, but those who are truly for the public good are far and few between. These Republicans are often called “RINOs” by those in power: “Republicans in Name Only”. I’ve heard that the statue of Abraham Lincoln is shedding tears because of what has happened to his party.
Robert O. (St. Louis)
The undemocratic and broken Senate should not be the body that confirms judges. The ability of a single corrupt person to dominate the Senate makes it highly dangerous to risk assigning such an important job to the whims of any one individual. Perhaps a joint panel of the House and Senate Judiciary committees with a a statutory two thirds requirement would restore some much needed integrity to the process. Continuing the current system is a recipe for a discredited and distrusted judiciary.
gpickard (Luxembourg)
@Robert O. Dear Robert O., There was such a rule that allowed the minority party to block nominations if they could muster enough votes to prevent the 60 votes needed for confirmation. Mr. Harry Reid abolished the rule in frustration with the Republicans who prevented most of Mr. Obama's appointees from being confirmed. That decision has turned the process into partisan travesty. I wish the Senate would re-enact the former rule to allow for real debate and action and not just a mob mentality railroading candidates through with a simple majority.
The North (North)
That this has happened is scary. That it has happened so quickly is scarier still. That there were so many to choose from in the first place and so many more to choose from is a tragedy, albeit proof of American Exceptionalism.
Matt Proud (American Refugee in DACH)
The United States has turned itself into a country not worth living in anymore, incapable of reform or execution. I have made my piece with giving up my citizenship for a place that has self-respect, vision, and a desire to continuously improve and reform itself. Good luck to the rest of you; you will need it!
gpickard (Luxembourg)
@Matt Proud Dear Matt, I get your point about the US as a country "...incapable of reform.." but what do you mean by the country is incapable of "execution"? Are you a death penalty advocate? I also presume, you meant you had made "...my peace with giving up your citizenship..." Or perhaps you meant you have done your part to renounce your citizenship and are waiting for someone else to help you complete the process?
EN (D.C.)
You just noticed? As I have said many times to my millenial kid, "If you want change this country, change the Senate." Of course, as part of this effort, Mitch McConnell has got to go. I think he may be the most dangerous man in the U.S.
Melvyn Magree (Dulutn MN)
@EN Ask you senator, no matter which party to attend the annual reading of “Washington’s Farewell Address”. He warned about factions, which both parties are guilty of. BTY, when was the last time you saw the Senate touted as the world’s greatest deliberative body. It seems to have become the most rigid deliberately partisan body.
Vito (Sacramento)
@EN I think you are correct with your assessment of Mitch McConnell. I’ve always believed that he as been the architect for the destruction of our representative body in the Senate. One man from a mid sized state keeps my Senators and thus the majority of Californians from having our voices heard. The same can be said of the other states when he refuses to bring bills up for a vote and especially a hearing for a Supreme Court nominee. If people think that we live in a democracy, think again!
nora m (New England)
@EN I will say of McConnell what I never say of anyone: the man is evil. He is evil because he deliberately harms democracy itself without a single qualm. He doesn't care who is hurt by his single-minded pursuit of power and money. The term "depraved indifference" suits him completely and it is the hallmark of a sociopath. There are many successful ones in high places attained through utter ruthlessness.
Adam (CT)
Well, Mr Obama has his chance to make his appointments, and he did. It's Trump's turn now. He is a sitting president and can appoint whomever he wants. BTW, I have always voted Dem.
Cecelia (CA)
@Adam yea! 19 out of 21 current judges in District Court 9 (the "legislative" branch) were appointed by Obama or Clinton (one by Carter). So don't blame Trump for being political in his appts. It is the name of the game like it or not.
Jimal (Connecticut)
@Adam If you've always voted Dem, then you'd know that the normal process ended as soon as McConnell and the Republicans took control of the Senate in January, 2015. Obama had his chance up until the point when he didn't anymore. See Merrick Garland.
Marshall (California)
The Senate refused to permit Obama’s nominees to be appointed, including a Supreme Court nominee.
Canyon (Out West)
Conservatives have been planning for decades how to shift this country rightward, and appointing young conservative judges, with many years of service ahead of them, has been a major pillar of their plan. Added to that is gerrymandering to impact the legislative branch, and the powerful success of having conservatives or very “moderate” Democrats as president for 50 years, none of whom have minded a rightward shift (in the name of compromise, of course). With conservative judges dominating the bench for decades and conservative groups engineering or backing strategic litigations, we’ll see lots of pro-business rulings (favoring arbitration, for example, undermining the right to trial), diminishing consumer rights, eroding civil rights, lack of procedural protections in criminal cases, and the rise of rulings allowing businesses to enforce their political and religious agendas (such as the Hobby Lobby case, allowing the company to omit contraception from their medical plan because of the company’s “religious beliefs”). And more decisions like Citizens United (allowing unlimited money in politics as “free speech”) will solidify this position for the foreseeable future. Given that the Democrats don’t have a plan to counter any of this (Exhibit A: all of the rallying behind “nothing will change” Biden), we’re in for decades more of a rightward shift.
Thomas (Washington DC)
@Canyon Bernie Sanders supporters need to read your comment to understand the difference between decades of hard work to get an agenda enacted versus waving a magic wand at election time.
Randy L. (Brussels, Belgium)
It’s nice to see balance restored to the courts.
NOTATE REDMOND (TEJAS)
The Democrats need to fight fire with fire. They must reverse engineer the courts in time to engender diversity and more liberal attitudes. This issue can be overcome with time. No worries there.
Moen (OfEarthOne)
So many responses here want Democrats to use "Republican Playbook". That just isn't going to happen. In my opinion the two are composed of two different characteristics. Republicans generally exhibit alpha male characteristics and dems generally the opposite, live and let live types with all that it encompasses in a civilized society: affiliation, compassion, consideration, moral compass. One with these attributes cannot withstand the blunt force of a win at any cost personality. A democrat's impulse is to avoid confrontation. It is a part of his upbringing.
Cecelia (CA)
@Moen you have got to be kidding. See Dist. 9: CA District (the "legislative" branch) where 19 out of 21 currently serving judges were appointed by Obama or Clinton (one by Carter). So don't blame Trump for being political in his appointments and claim it is only Democrats. Naive. It is the name of the game like it or not.
Lee Herring (NC)
@Moen Live and let live?!?!? Dems have more litmus tests- to be allowed to be a DEM, than a chemistry lab.
DSD (St. Louis)
The Appellate Courts are now full of far right extremist partisans who disdain government and the laws created by Congress. Don’t look for jurists but people out for revenge and making political decisions not based in law.
Norville T. Johnston (New York)
Who is surprised here? Trump ran on this issue and it's a reason why he was elected. People knew what he was going to do and he was elected. Given the choice we had, this too should not surprise anyone. Spare me the popular vote delusion. It is not how presidents are elected nor how campaigns are run. Trump will be re-elected and might get more than one SCOTUS appointment as well. The Dems are in shambles and won't beat him even though we see how unpresidential he is. Elections do have consequences.
O (MD)
@Norville T. Johnston They certainly do, Norville, they certainly do. Things like ... the complete and utter destruction of the rule of law, the slide toward oligarchic autocracy, an entirely incompetent executive branch which we can now see in glaring relief just how utterly incompetent, a Senate that has abandoned any sense of duty to the constitution or even their fundamental duty to their office, trillion dollar plus tax cuts for the very rich with simultaneous concerted efforts to take away health insurance from 20 million Americans. Consequences, all right. Indeed.
S.P. (MA)
@Norville T. Johnston — It's a republic, "If you can keep it." The consequences are not supposed to include enthroning a stark-mad king, with unchecked power. Doing that requires a lot more than an election. It requires malign intent and flagrant abuse of power. You should not be cheering it on.
Max Deitenbeck (Shreveport)
@Norville T. Johnston Popular vote? You do understand that the Electoral College is a racist, anachronistic system, right? Trump wasn't elected, as you pointed out. How can he be reelected? Trump won't win either the popular vote or the Electoral College. People who didn't vote in 2016 will vote in 2020 to make sure that monster doesn't spend another day infesting the White House.
wise brain (Martinez)
This has been the conservative/libertarian goal since Reagan. They have strategized the long game to gain and maintain power. Using media and religion to inflame rather than inform so they can dominate in local, state and national levers of power. Their #1 focus is to transfer governmental functions to private industry, deregulation and tax cuts for the few resulting in major hardships for the many. Trump is just following the playbook they've been using for decades. Buckle up.
Bibi (CA)
@wise brain inflame rather than inform that says it in a nutshell
Baruch (Bend OR)
All of Trump's appointments including SCOTUS are illegitimate because the Republicans have stonewalled Democratic Presidents when it comes to the same appointments. When a Democrat is in the White House again and we turn this country around, all of these judges will be asked to resign, or will be removed, because the appointment process itself is illegitimate.
Jimd (Planet Earth)
I think Trump’s appointments are outstanding and is exactly why I voted for him and will again. The US Constitution is one of the best documents written in human history, only conservative judges will uphold it.
kirk s (mill valley, ca)
@Jimd how ironically un-American of you.
Brian (Downingtown, PA)
@Jimd The U.S. Constitution is one of the world’s greatest documents. The conservative judges and justices tend to be right-wing ideologues. Sadly, most of them are on the wrong side of history.
O (MD)
@Jimd France is on their 5th version of their constitution. We continue to use a document written more than 200 years ago. Have you noticed that when we install governments around the world through our usual nefarious means that we never advance the notion to use our system? Why do you suppose that is? Because it's a system that cannot function in a hyper-partisan environment. As we now see. The Constitution may be a great work, but it needs some work. And now.
Truth to Power (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)
The Democrats are dealing with the "chickens coming home to roost" syndrome. Democrats passed legislation during their Obama senate majority that no longer required 60 senate votes for judicial approval. Democrats had good reason to be frustrated with the Republican senate's (read: McConnell) hard-line behavior regarding President Obama's difficulty getting his nominations passed. But we are now living in an extremely polarized political world. What we have is political war.
citybumpkin (Earth)
@Truth to Power That's a nonsense narrative. There was never any reason that Republicans couldn't have done the same at any point. Do you honestly look at Mitch McConnell and say "that's a guy who would never do that?"
DipB (SF)
@Truth to Power Total nonsense. Republicans would have ignored the 60 vote rule, like many others regardless of what the previous administration did or did not
Shane (New Zealand)
@Truth to Power you don't have a 'polarized' politic, you have a democracy hijacked by extreme corporate wealth using their cabal of 'news' (propaganda) outlets. The idea of polarization is a nonsense. Mostly because it amounts to a divide between the gullible and the not so, in any case it amounts to a sideshow, a distraction.
Bob (Evanston, IL)
Elections have consequences. The Sanders supporters who threaten to stay home or vote third party if Sanders doesn't get the nomination should realize that. If they do this year what they did in 2020, there will be more of these judges --as well as polluters at the EPA, pro lifers and NRA people at Justice, fossil fuel people running the Interior Department, anti-union people at the NLRB and many many other people they don't like running the Federal government. But if that happens, we can look at the bright side of it. The Sanders people will have a lot of demonstrations, protests and marches they can go to.
Max Collodi (Philadelphia)
It's sad that such a national minority holds so much sway. It started with the Freedom Caucus in Congress who were described as wacky birds by Republican ex-Speaker of the House John Boehner. Their influence has influenced the Republican party at large to the extent that ideological purity and fealty to Trump are the most important criteria for re-election. Most Republicans already subscribed to this philosophy e.g. Sarah Palin, but it was usually moderated by elected officials e.g. George Bush Jr. Trump recognized the growing influence of the extremists and paid homage by giving them the judges they've wanted for decades. Trump was also astute enough to see that corporate money flowed like a wave in support of these judicial nominees who were generally hostile to workers, unions and government institutions. So not only does corporate America write our laws, it will now essentially litigate out of existence the ones they disagree with thanks to the courts. Something has come home to roost but it's not chickens, it's wacky birds. And it's not good.
Topher S (St. Louis, MO)
Yet Bernie supporters seem fixated on losing (again) and demonizing "the establishment". If Trump is reelected it will be with their help.
McGloin (Brooklyn)
@Topher S If the Bernie supporters will only vote for Bernie, and the Democratic loyalists will vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is, then if you wan to beat Trump, you are more likely to do it with Bernie. Its called math. I'm a Bernie supporter that would vote for Biden, but I can't promise that other Bernie supporters will. If you centrists are so wise that you will compromise your values to win, then compromise with the Left to beat the Right. You can't beat the Right, by saying the the Left is bad and the Right isn't so bad. The fact is that the Left is moderate and the Right is actively attacking the Constitution in every way they can think of. Are you mire interested in beating Trump or Bernie. Choose a side.
Bibi (CA)
@McGloin When undecided in the primary, I spent a long time talking to a Bernie supporter at a table; he impressed me with his knowledge and rationality. The next time I came to that table, it was manned by a Bernie Bro, who practically taunted me with his stand, which was not to vote for a centrist democrat, even if Trump would thereby get re-elected. That completely turned me away from Bernie. Blind.
There Is Light in Ohio (Wooster OH)
The shame of the Trump presidency will fade with time. But the stain will persist long after he has been removed from office.
Dog pal (Florida)
One of the major reasons to vote for the Democrats in November is the U.S. Supreme Court. Several vacancies ahead, hopefully NOT, before November! Some of the Justices are hanging in there and on. Having the Democrats take control of the Senate is very necessary since the new justices rest on selection from there. Republicans will merely fall into line for Trump and McConnell. VOTE in November for better Courts with the Democrats!
bjb3 (Sudbury Massachusetts)
@Dog pal Hopefully not before January 20, 2021. McConnell won't have any trouble approving a new Justice after the election but before inauguration.
Paul Corr (Sydney Australia)
So, you might say they are activist judges, then? Didn’t conservatives once complain about that?
Norville T. Johnston (New York)
@Paul Corr There is a difference here. These judges will interpret the law as it is written , not as they want it to be written. Let's see how the Democrats react to these "Activist" judges as you label them. I'm guessing they won't like it and will call for some rule changes or other such remedy. Not to achieve a moderate position, but only to get the power back in their own hands.
Bibi (CA)
@Paul Corr And they complained about state's rights too; now where are they on that? It was never about the structure or about judicial activism; it was always about their personal agendas which are anti-democratic, race-bound, and money and power-driven.
Brian (Downingtown, PA)
@Paul Corr Don’t be fooled by the Norville Johnston’s of the world. Most of these conservative judges are activists—and right-wing ideologues.
politicallyincorrect (Columbus, Ohio)
Every news or opinion article critical of federal judges focuses exclusively on the policy-making side of the courts -- such as limits on abortion, immigration, etc. In such areas, the courts are empowered to make laws or, at least, to fill in the gaps left by the legislatures. While the public might have differing policy views than the judges who are deciding these cases, the legal issues in such cases are so unsettled that the judges have free rein to vote their own consciences. True, this means that conservative judges will set conservative policies and liberal judges will set liberal policies. One might not like the policy decisions made by the judges, but no one can say that the judges are being dishonest or in making rulings that conform to their personal political ideologies. In contrast, with regard to the vast majority of legal cases that do not involve unresolved political or policy issues left for the courts to decide, no news or opinion articles look at whether the judicial decisions were dishonest, for example, by ignoring settled law or misstating the facts of the cases. If they did, the writers of such articles would clearly see that many of these cases were corruptly "fixed" to favor a politically-powerful interest. So, rather than criticize judges for ruling in favor of their personal political preferences when interpreting vague laws, they should be criticizing judges for making clearly dishonest rulings in favor of politically-powerful interests.
Lee Herring (NC)
@politicallyincorrect No, they should expect congress to do its job and not write vague laws. Pass a law legalizing abortion and RvW challenge goes away. Why didn't the Obama first term do that?
Bibi (CA)
@politicallyincorrect Bush v. Gore
Cecelia (CA)
@politicallyincorrect Such at the 9th District in CA
Bobcb (Montana)
Mitch McConnell and the Federalist Society know that this is the last gasp for the rule angry old white men, otherwise known as the GOP, a party to which I once belonged. Instead of trying to broaden the base, he and Trump have doubled down and are attempting to influence the direction of our Country's judiciary for the next 50 years. I, like Bobbo below, hope that a number of these radical judges will one day be impeached for violating their judicial oath. That will only happen when we return Democrats to power in masse which will hopefully be soon.
Me (Here)
@Bobcb They did not attempt this. They have done it. The last gasp will last 50 years indeed.
M. (California)
@Bobcb if they can't be removed, I hope they can at least be severely diluted.
Bob (Virginia)
@Bobcb "this is the last gasp for the rule angry old white men, otherwise known as the GOP"... you must have blinders on! Republicans have the White House (executive branch), they have the Senate (the more important chamber of the legislative branch), they a solid majority on the Supreme Court, and are rapidly reshaping the federal court system (judicial branch). Yet you and others claim they are a minority of dying old white men! Wow, they are a pretty savvy group of guys! Now go ahead and tell me how it's all because of a rigged and racist election system (electoral college).
NOTATE REDMOND (TEJAS)
Anytime one has a democracy with all citizens having the right to vote without qualification as now in the US, we become open to demagogues such as Donald Trump simply because many voters are not as educated or well informed enough to make a good decision regarding the available candidates. Yes Mildred, we have voters that should not have the right. When the political parties had their smoked filled back rooms where they selected the candidates, a guy like like Trump would NEVER have made the cut. We need to go back to the parties selecting the candidates and dump this ridiculously wasteful and impractical primary system. Now!
Me (Here)
@NOTATE REDMOND Yea, we had gems like Harding, Coolidge, Buchanan, etc. as a result of smoke-filled back rooms. Perhaps instead of going back to that we can educate voters better.
KBronson (Louisiana)
@NOTATE REDMOND The know-betters aren’t as smart as they think they are. I would consider a self sufficient pipe fitter who pays his own way and takes care of his brood more qualified to vote than an insolvent semi-employed college graduate voting to get someone to pay their debts. My father was a ninth grade dropout. He was and still is surrounded by stacks of books on history and civic affairs. I have 24 years of education and associate with college graduates from the “best” schools. Their ignorance about history and civics relative to my father astounds me.
Dan (Lafayette)
@Me And work to end gerrymandering and the electoral college. Long term goals to be sure.
M.A.A (Colorado)
Imagine after all the years that the Republicans have been whining incessantly about the courts legislating in this country, which of course was true only to a certain extent, now actively working to effectively create a legislative branch within the judiciary themselves. Republicans and hypocrisy, they fit together like peanut butter and jelly.
McGloin (Brooklyn)
@M.A.A When Republicans are accusing others of crimes or corruption, they are almost always just projecting their crimes and corruption onto others.
Norville T. Johnston (New York)
@M.A.A But you ignore the upcoming Democratic hypocrisy when they complain that the republicans are now doing what they did. Where does that leave us ?
M.A.A (Colorado)
@Norville T. Johnston I'm not ignoring anything. While there are some Democrats that might occasionally whine about what Republicans are doing to the judiciary in this country, it's infrequent and absolutely, without question not even remotely a top talking point for Democrats as a whole. Whereas prior to Trump you would hear, daily, incessantly from right-wingers, politicians, pundits, radio hosts, etc about the court's left leaning legislation from the bench. This is a major, major distinction. Republicans largely existed on this platform, among others of course. Democrats don't, and it's not even close.
Russell (Seattle)
What will remain, once Trump and his republicans leave office, is a judiciary that lacks legitimacy and that most Americans should and will regard with suspicion.
Drew (Bay Area)
@Russell Already the case, no? Monopoly corporations and their mouthpiece GOP have created their own judicial system.
JH (Nyc)
This is one of the scariest aspects (among many) of this debacle of a presidency.
CommonSense'18 (California)
@JH It's more like a "train wreck" of a presidency.
Io Lightning (CA)
@JH Indeed. Trump is a "noise machine" drawing attention to himself while the real dealings of extremist conservatism move behind the scenes. NYT and most of the rest of the media -- not to mention way too many of my fellow liberals/progressives -- get caught up in the scandal/tweet-of-the-day. The tear-down of regulations and the stacked judiciary branch are things that ought to be making the noisiest news.
John (arytvbew5)
We know Donald. We know Mitch. We know The Federalist Society. So we know these people are, to a man and women, heedless partisan apparatchiks. We've been here before, though not in such outlandish numbers thanks to the traitorous strategizing of McConnell. What we, what I, have not been prepared for is the ignorance, the cynical know-nothing pride, the ugly drive for unwarranted power common among this horrid pile of new judges. Many can't find the table of contents in a first year law book, let alone care to try. Many are openly salivating over this new opportunity to force nasty, self-aggrandizing, un-American decisions on people still foolish enough to believe US courts represent anything at all like truth or justice. That's the greatest crime here. It will be a matter of months for knowledge the law is no longer impartial or evenly applied to filter to the street. Soon enough we'll all realize we go before a judge to be brought to heel, reminded of our sinful nature, deprived of our rights. When that knowledge becomes widespread all bets will be off. If our heavily militarized, uber-violent police think they have it tough now, just wait a year. Trump/McConnell have sealed our legal fate with the sick cooperation of the Republican party. We're at the trailing edge of America here, and these fake patriots are midway through delivering the final push. The Right thinks they're winning, but they're sowing chaos from which we will not easily recover.
HFA (Washington, DC)
@John "Many can't find the table of contents in a first year law book, let alone care to try." But the majority went to good law schools. That is what is surprising. Or, am I missing something?
John (arytvbew5)
@HFA Just the obvious fact these people have made themselves exactly who they want to be and no training, of whatever quality, has lead them to question what they're doing or its devastating impact on the country and the law.
Bryan (Kalamazoo, MI)
@John I'll believe there will be chaos when I see it. I don't see enough people with a sense of urgency about any of this!
eduardo (Forks, WA)
don't forget to thank Mitch and his buddies for years of pre-Trump obstruction on judicial appts. Only the Garland incident getting much press.
John King (New Jersey)
As with many of our problems under Trump, you can consider McConnell equally culpable for obstructing Obama's nominations for years.
marvinhjeglin (hemet, californa)
The most depressing part of this article is the complete allegiance by these judges to the idea only impeachment regulates the president. The founders, for all their faults, did not want a king, which is exactly where lack of regulation takes the country, Trump, for example, is king. It appears to me that Fascism has come to stay, thanks to these authoritarian supporters, the Federalist Society and the Bill Barr cohort in the DOJ. While I note all the elite institutions attended by these political corporate allied Federalist Society judges, they lack the every day experiences of the persons they are intent on judging, e.g., the poor, the immigrant farm worker, janitors, and even middle class struggling small business owners. I await Jim Crow any day now. us army 1969-1971/california jd
marvinhjeglin (hemet, californa)
@KBronson I do not see Charles Schumer's name as one of the Trump appointed judges. So please explain the relevance to my remarks about the appointed judges. us army 1969-1971/california jd
PS (PDX, Orygun)
@KBronson - We know fascism. It is the GOP and Trump. Period.
Bobbo (Anchorage)
Great reporting, but I don't think the term "conservative" is accurate when applied to these radical right-wing ideologues. My dream is that the worst will some day be impeached and removed for violating their judicial oath.
nickdastardly (Tampa)
@Bobbo Correct. The Republican Party runs the gamut from the far right to the extreme right, and moderate Republicans are now called Democrats. There used to be liberal Republicans.
Chris Marks (Amana IA)
@Bobbo Spoken like a true fan of the Spanish Inquisition! We should never impeach independent federal judges based on their interpretation of our Constitution. Justices Ginsburg and Scalia often held differing views and we are a better country for their service. There is no single "right" way to judge. Your "dream" is a nightmare.
Brian (Downingtown, PA)
@Chris Marks I concur with your comments. Justices Ginsburg and Scalia disagreed strongly on many significant issues. Let us not forget that they were extremely close friends. Another very important thing to remember is that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Firatsf (SF)
Who would believe that the land of the free would turn into a dictatorship?
ShenAnno (Shenandoah Valley, Va.)
@Firatsf Given what people have done to protect it, who wouldn’t?
Steve (Idaho)
@Firatsf when 60 million Americans prefer dictatorship because they are terrified of brown skin anything is possible.
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