#1 Has a liberal Supreme Court Justice ever turned conservative?04-03-2012, 12:59 AM
You can find several instances of Justices that were deemed conservative at their conformation turning into liberals later,but I'm not finding any liberals that have turned conservative.
I'm sure that it is somewhat relative and that both sides of the court in the distant past would have seemed conservative in modern times, but lets just say have there been any in the last 100 years?
This blog got me thinking.
Professor Byron L. Warnken's Blog
The Teaching, The Writing, The Clients
The Supreme Court is Even More Politicized than You Think
by Professor Byron L. Warnken on April 2, 2012
THE SUPREME COURT HAS BECOME MORE POLITICIZED
When Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens retired from the Supreme Court in 2010, at age 90, there were no longer any justices on the Court from the pre-Reagan era. Justice Stevens was a liberal justice appointed to the Court by President Ford, a Republican. Two of the most liberal justices in history – Justice Earl Warren and Justice William Brennan – were appointed to the Court by President Eisenhower, a Republican. Appointments like those appointments do not happen today.
Beginning with President Reagan, and followed by President Bush (the elder), President Clinton, President Bush (the younger), and President Obama, all appointments to the Supreme Court have been (1) a member of the President’s party, (2) someone who thinks a lot like the President, (3) someone who is on the President’s side of the line, but not so far down that line so as to preclude confirmation, and (4) a young person, so as to get the longest tenure out of each appointment. I knew that I was getting old when I realized that the Chief Justice of the United States was in his second year of law school when I became a law professor.
Historically, the Supreme Court was viewed as the one branch of government that stood above the political fray. The Court is still considered to be more neutral than the legislative branch and more neutral than the executive branch, but, in the last three decades, any notion that the Court is completely neutral is gone.
A century ago, only about 3% of the Court’s decisions were 5-to-4 decisions. During the last three decades, that number has increased more than seven fold to 22%. In fact, it is speculated that the reason that Justice David Souter resigned from the Court was his disgust over how political the Court acted in Bush v. Gore.
The current Court breakdown is as follows:
Justice Antonin Scalia – appointed by President Reagan – conservative
Justice Anthony Kennedy – appointed by President Reagan – conservative, but balanced
Justice Clarence Thomas – appointed by President Bush (the elder) – conservative
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – appointed by President Clinton – liberal
Justice Stephen Breyer – appointed by President Clinton – liberal
Chief Justice John Roberts – appointed by President Bush (the younger) – conservative
Justice Samuel Alito – appointed by President Bush (the younger) – conservative
Justice Sonya Sotomayor – appointed by President Obama – liberal
Justice Elana Kagan – appointed by President Obama – liberal
Justice Kennedy has become the Court. On many issues, when the other eight Justices are marching in lock step with the party that appointed them, Justice Kennedy can go be persuaded to go either way. Since 2005, Justice Kennedy has been in the majority in almost all 5-to-4 decisions. As goes Justice Kennedy, so goes the Court. That is why Supreme Court observer Jeffrey Toobin, Esq., predicted that the “individual mandate” in the Health Care Reform Act was in “grave danger,” after he heard the questions that Justice Kennedy asked of the advocates, as Justice Kennedy struggled with the confrontation between the Commerce Clause and the Tenth Amendment.The difference between pigs and people is that when they tell you you're cured it isn't a good thing.
04-03-2012, 03:02 AM
To the "elite" (on our side of the aisle) if your a "moderate" or a "centrist" your considered conservative. That is how they view it. This is how liberal republicans like those in the Bush family are labeled "conservative" (in public while privately being labeled "moderate").
Conversely the "elite" on the other side of the aisle consider you a conservative if you arent as far left as they are. Thats why when they have panels on the talk shows with 3 libs and a "moderate", they think its "balanced" because the moderate is "conservative" in their view.
So its little surprise when "conservatives" are appointed only later to learn they really werent.
Liberalism is just communism sold by the drink.
04-03-2012, 07:41 AM
I got into an argument over the 4 liberal justices of the supreme court on whether or not they are liberal, they all to a man thought they were centrists. lol I almost pissed myself laughing.
04-03-2012, 09:25 AM
The issue becomes what is considered "conservative" and what is considered "liberal." For instance, the latest 5-4 decision to come out of the Court OK's the State to strip search people for minor offenses when they are arrested. I would think the "conservative" approach would be to limit the actions of the State when it comes to the 4th Amendment, forcing the authorities to climb a higher bar on what is reasonable.
To me, the Court has become more partisan, not ideological.
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04-03-2012, 10:33 AM
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Now, perhaps the bar for arrest may be too low, but that's a different argument. At least in this case, the police had a warrant issued by a judge. The warrant was issued improperly, but that's not the fault of the police. They are duty-bound to act on that warrant if the person named on the warrant presents himself, as he did in this case. As such, the arrest in question was not illegal in itself, though it was precipitated by an action by a judge that may be deemed illegal.Olde-style, states' rights conservative. Ask if this concept confuses you.
04-03-2012, 10:49 AM
Now, perhaps the bar for arrest may be too low, but that's a different argument.
On a side note, that decision was during that time after Bush v Gore where the Court mixed things up a bit to get rid of the partisan taint. Souter actually wrote that one.
At least in this case, the police had a warrant issued by a judge. The warrant was issued improperly, but that's not the fault of the police. They are duty-bound to act on that warrant if the person named on the warrant presents himself, as he did in this case. As such, the arrest in question was not illegal in itself, though it was precipitated by an action by a judge that may be deemed illegal.
04-03-2012, 11:02 AM
An interesting bit in Atwater:
Atwater’s arrest was surely “humiliating,” as she says in her brief, but it was no more “harmful to … privacy or … physical interests” than the normal custodial arrest. She was handcuffed, placed in a squad car, and taken to the local police station, where officers asked her to remove her shoes, jewelry, and glasses, and to empty her pockets. They then took her photograph and placed her in a cell, alone, for about an hour, after which she was taken before a magistrate, and released on $310 bond. The arrest and booking were inconvenient and embarrassing to Atwater, but not so extraordinary as to violate the Fourth Amendment.
Atwater v Lago Vista
The argument Souter made was essentially it wasn't that big of a deal; merely an inconvenience.
Now, with the latest decision, mere inconvenience has given way to strip search.
04-03-2012, 11:02 AM
This is my idea of what constitutes a conservative judge.
A Definition of Strict Constructionism
From Justin Quinn, former About.com Guide
See More About:
Definition: Strict construction is a legal term typically applied to a form of exacting judicial interpretation. The term is sometimes misidentified as "strict constructivism." The practice of strict constructionism requires a judge to apply the text of the law in a formalist way -- only as it is written. This means a judge or panel of judges must first obtain a clear meaning of the text. Once the text of a law is interpreted clearly, there is no need to draw further inferences from statutes of the law.
Strict constructionism belongs to a family of judicial interpretation theories known as "originalism." Employing strict constructionism is one way for conservative judges to practice judicial restraint.
Pronunciation: strikt kunstrukshinizim
Also Known As: judicial conservatism, originalism, textualism
Alternate Spellings: strict constructionist, strict construction
Common Misspellings: strict constructivism
When President George W. Bush campaigned for president, he promised to nominate "strict constructionists in the mold of Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas."The difference between pigs and people is that when they tell you you're cured it isn't a good thing.
04-03-2012, 11:04 AM
Scalia on the Constitution
"My Constitution is a very flexible Constitution." -- Justice Scalia
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia explained and defended his "originalist" approach to constitutional interpretation in a closing address to a Princeton University conference on James Madison, fourth president and framer of the Constitution.
Speaking on Feb. 23, 2001, Justice Scalia explained that he, like Madison, interprets the Constitution according to the "common sense" meaning and definition of the document's words at the time they were written. An opposite approach, Scalia suggested from that applied by Justices who believe the Constitution "changes from age to age in order to meet the needs of a changing society."
Scalia criticized the second approach, saying that it too often results in crafting subjective interpretations of the Constitution to address issues that could and should be handled by Congress.
Calling his view of the Constitution an "originalist" view, Scalia conceded it often places him in a position of supporting laws that do not seem to make sense.
"It may well be stupid, but if it's stupid, pass a law!" he said. "Don't think the originalist interpretation constrains you. To the contrary. My Constitution is a very flexible Constitution. You want a right to abortion? Create it the way all rights are created in a democracy, pass a law. The death penalty? Pass a law. That's flexibility."
Scalia suggested that supporters of the "living Constitution" view, allowing for flexible interpretations molded to meet the changing times, really wanted "rigidity."
"They want the whole country to do it their way from coast to coast. They want to drive one issue after another off the stage of political debate … Every time you insert into the Constitution - by speculation - new rights that aren't really there you are impoverishing democracy. You are pushing one issue after another off the democratic stage."
Appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, Justice Scalia is considered one of the court's conservatives along with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. [Current Supreme Court Justices]
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