Bush’s judicial legacy
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we’ll soon be seeing an about-face on the concept of “legislating from the bench,” a practice that Bush and the Republicans adamantly talked shit about for the last eight years. Unfortunately for them, on a Federal level, that’s about the only place they’ll be legislating for a while, and they know it and are beginning to savor it.
It was no accident that the first piece of major legislation the House of Representatives passed last week was a rebuke of one of the two justices President George W. Bush put on the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito.
To open the new Congress, the House passed a bill which seeks to undo the 2007 Supreme Court Ledbetter decision which Alito wrote.
House Democrats weren’t shy about pointing the finger at Alito as the man they saw as the culprit in the 2007 decision.
Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., said Alito “wrote the flawed decision…. Lilly Ledbetter was denied justice and the rights afforded to her under the Civil Rights Act. Justice Alito’s opinion runs contrary to decades of civil rights law.”
And Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who has often led the opposition to Bush’s judicial nominees, said in 2006 that Alito is one nominee he wished he had done more to block. “My greatest regret in the last two years is that we didn’t stop Alito…. You don’t filibuster unless someone is way out of the mainstream…. Alito clearly seemed to me to be that,” he told reporters.
Bad news is, the Justices Bush appointed are going to be around, like, forever.
But Alito at age 58 is likely to be on the court for at least another 20 years.
Chief Justice John Roberts, nominated to the court by Bush in 2005, is 53 years old. If he serves as long as Justice John Paul Stevens, who is the court’s oldest member, Roberts will still be on the high court in 2040.
Even more striking: Bush appointee Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the powerful United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is only 44 years old.
Though during the civil rights era, the Supreme Court did a decent job of upholding the constitution in the face of evildoers, let’s not forget that some of the worst policies of discrimination in this country’s history were enshrined by the Supreme Court and other Federal courts in years past. The Judiciary, being a non-elected body, has a unique ability to lean against the winds of change. Since we can all agree that Hurricane Hope is more or less a blowin’ again, those of us who aren’t atheists might do well to pray for Samuel Alito to get Typhus or somethin’.