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Today as I was searching for more information about President Barack Obama's judicial appointments to our federal courts, I came across an interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal by none other than the co-founder of the Federalist Society. Join me below the jump for all the fun!

In the  editorial written just before election day, Steven Calabresi notes that nothing other than the fate of the Federal Courts is at stake in the election. In a whiny, hyperventilating tone Calabresi sizes up the "legal left," as he calls those of us whose hearts seek justice regardless of where we fit into society. In a mischaracterization of truth bordering on subterfuge, Calabresi opens his editorial with a shot across the bow aimed at Congressional Democrats.

One of the great unappreciated stories of the past eight years is how thoroughly Senate Democrats thwarted efforts by President Bush to appoint judges to the lower federal courts.

Those of us familiar with Senate Democrats' week and feeble attempts at stopping some of George W. Bush's most odious nominees are certainly aware how laughable and ludicrous this statement really is.
But, there's more!

Consider the most important lower federal court in the country: the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In his two terms as president, Ronald Reagan appointed eight judges, an average of one a year, to this court. They included Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, Kenneth Starr, Larry Silberman, Stephen Williams, James Buckley, Douglas Ginsburg and David Sentelle. In his two terms, George W. Bush was able to name only four: John Roberts, Janice Rogers Brown, Thomas Griffith and Brett Kavanaugh.

Although two seats on this court are vacant, Bush nominee Peter Keisler has been denied even a committee vote for two years. If Barack Obama wins the presidency, he will almost certainly fill those two vacant seats, the seats of two older Clinton appointees who will retire, and most likely the seats of four older Reagan and George H.W. Bush appointees who may retire as well.

I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to feel his pain...not!!

The net result is that the legal left will once again have a majority on the nation's most important regulatory court of appeals.

The balance will shift as well on almost all of the 12 other federal appeals courts. Nine of the 13 will probably swing to the left if Mr. Obama is elected (not counting the Ninth Circuit, which the left solidly controls today). Circuit majorities are likely at stake in this presidential election for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. That includes the federal appeals courts for New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and virtually every other major center of finance in the country.

On the Supreme Court, six of the current nine justices will be 70 years old or older on January 20, 2009. There is a widespread expectation that the next president could make four appointments in just his first term, with maybe two more in a second term. Here too we are poised for heavy change.

One can only hope that Calabresi's ominous (for conservatives) predictions about our federal judiciary come true. A President never really knows how many appointments he is going to be able to make.

Calabresi goes on to insinuate that the "legal left" is mischaracterizing just how right-wing our federal courts are now.

The legal left wants Americans to imagine that the federal courts are very right-wing now, and that Mr. Obama will merely stem some great right-wing federal judicial tide. The reality is completely different. The federal courts hang in the balance, and it is the left which is poised to capture them.

As a proud proponent of the "legal left," though I'm not a lawyer, I can only marvel in the joy I feel that a prominent legal conservative, someone who has helped turn the federal courts into a bastion of corporate power, into a haven for screw the little guy group-think, may never get another chance to do such damage again to that which is there to protect the right of the minority against the tyranny of the majority.  

Anyway, it's a great read for all you bleeding hearts, so do check it out.

Also, I came across this link on wikipedia where you can follow the progress of Obama's "legal left" takeover of the federal judiciary:

http://en.wikipedia.org/...

Thanks for reading,

Peaceful

Originally posted to A Peaceful Warrior on Mon May 25, 2009 at 06:13 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  maybe they're running scared (7+ / 0-)

    or maybe they figure they can intimidate him to beg for a moderate right winger to be nominated...in the name of bipartisanship of course.

    McCain insisted [no union member] would [pick lettuce for $50/hour] for a complete season. "You can't do it, my friends."

    by grrr on Mon May 25, 2009 at 06:15:29 PM PDT

    •  If Republicans had been willing to prove (6+ / 0-)

      themselves to be bipartisan, that may have been the case at some point, but now that they've proven themselves to be the party of no, there's no need to play bipartisan anymore.

      •  Spoils System (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83

        Calebrisi's complaint is that the Democrats didn't vote according to the Spoils System when their judges' names came up. They want to put partisan ideologues on the courts, and are whining that the Founding Fathers inserted the "Advice and Consent" clause in the Constitution, although they don't have the guts to put the blame where it belongs.

        It's quite clear that the only "rule of law" these people care about is one that says you can't lie about your sex life. -Digby

        by Judge Moonbox on Mon May 25, 2009 at 06:35:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Reid Is In The Way (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eztempo, jimreyn, BoyBlue, Judge Moonbox

      The history of the Senate under Dem control is not great. It is more marked by fear of one word to the point of giving up.  Now a Dem Senator is scaring Reid.

      Pam Bennett Candidate Aurora City Council At-Large

      by Pam Bennett on Mon May 25, 2009 at 06:26:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Is it you, Socrates? (0+ / 0-)

    Lebst a chazerishen tog!

    by Hoghead99 on Mon May 25, 2009 at 06:18:36 PM PDT

  •  Well (5+ / 0-)

    At least he's not calling us the "illegal left".  That would fit more closely with his tone.

    I wonder if, in his quiet moments, he's ever considered that President Bush may have had trouble nominating judges because (a) many of the nominees were insane and (b) the Right has engaged in a multi-decade campaign to demonize the courts.

    Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

    by socratic on Mon May 25, 2009 at 06:19:50 PM PDT

  •  Legal Left....I love it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bablhous, Judge Moonbox, awcomeon

    Opposed by, of course, the Illegal Right!

  •  List of stalled, blocked or filibustered nominees (4+ / 0-)

    ...by Democrats. Most of them for very good reasons (ie rightwing nutjobs).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    See also "Gang of 14", for pathetic dealmaking by Dems/pseudo Dems.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Mon May 25, 2009 at 06:30:14 PM PDT

  •  That's right, we didn't thank them enough. (5+ / 0-)

    One of the great unappreciated stories of the past eight years is how thoroughly Senate Democrats thwarted efforts by President Bush to appoint judges to the lower federal courts.

    We should be celebrating that this attempt at court packing didn't go through.

    Consider the most important lower federal court in the country: the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In his two terms as president, Ronald Reagan appointed eight judges, an average of one a year, to this court. They included Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia, Kenneth Starr, Larry Silberman, Stephen Williams, James Buckley, Douglas Ginsburg and David Sentelle. In his two terms, George W. Bush was able to name only four: John Roberts, Janice Rogers Brown, Thomas Griffith and Brett Kavanaugh.

    Considering the record: Robert Bork couldn't find the Right to Privacy in the 4th Amendment's "Right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects..." Antonin Scalia needed Orrin Hatch's railroading to avoid embarrassing question about his "understanding" of the Separation of Church and State. Kenneth Starr couldn't come up with real dirt on Clinton so he tried to impeach him on a picayune sex scandal. David Sentelle was the guy who fired Fiske as special prosecutor over Whitewater because Fiske wasn't partisan enough. I suspect that Douglas Ginsburg was told to "just go" over his past marijuana use because his theory of the "Constitution in Exile" couldn't stand public scrutiny (although the prime evidence of that is because William "Book of Virtues" Bennett didn't tell George W. Bush to come clean or get out when rumors swirled about his having used drugs.

    It's quite clear that the only "rule of law" these people care about is one that says you can't lie about your sex life. -Digby

    by Judge Moonbox on Mon May 25, 2009 at 06:32:24 PM PDT

  •  Post a tip jar! very nice diary nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indybend, eztempo, bear83, Judge Moonbox
  •  That Is, TWO of the Republican SC Will Be 70's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, bear83

    and with modern medicine could serve 20 years. 10 more is almost a certainty.

    In other words, barring the Republicans' God missing with a lightning bolt and hitting one of the Republicans, Obama's not going to be in position to do anything to Bush's Court majority.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 25, 2009 at 07:10:51 PM PDT

  •  Current Federal Judicial Vacancies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eztempo, radarlady, jimreyn

    total 70 - 15 (out of 179 total) on US Courts of Appeals, and 55 (out of 678 total) on US District Courts.

    Republican presidents have appointed 100 of the current appeals court judges, to just 64 by Democratic presidents:

    56 - W
    58 - Clinton
    21 - GHWB
    22 - Reagan
    6 - Carter
    1 - Ford/Nixon

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

  •  Partisan Makeup of the Circuit Courts (5+ / 0-)

    President Obama's appointees can swing the balance to Dem appointees in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Circuits based on current vacancies alone.

    DC  3 D, 6 R, 2 vacant
    1st 2 D, 3 R, 1 vacant
    2nd 6 D, 6 R, 1 vacant
    3rd 6 D, 6 R, 2 vacant
    4th 5 D, 6 R, 4 vacant
    5th 4 D, 13 R
    6th 5 D, 10 R, 1 vacant
    7th 3 D, 7 R, 1 vacant
    8th 2 D, 9 R
    9th 16 D, 11R, 2 vacant
    10th 4 D, 8 R
    11th 4 D, 7 R, 1 vacant
    Federal 4 D, 8 R

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    •  Man, that is depressing. (0+ / 0-)

      Way too many Rs on the bench.

    •  If Obama fills all the vacancies (0+ / 0-)

      The partisan make-up of the courts will look like this:

      DC  5 D, 6 R
      1st 3 D, 3 R
      2nd 7 D, 6 R
      3rd 8 D, 6 R
      4th 9 D, 6 R
      5th 4 D, 13 R
      6th 6 D, 10 R
      7th 4 D, 7 R
      8th 2 D, 9 R
      9th 18 D, 11R
      10th 4 D, 8 R
      11th 5 D, 7 R
      Federal 4 D, 8 R

      So the majority will be Democratic judges in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 9th circuit courts, ties in the 1st, with majority Republican judges in the DC, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, and the Federal bench, or, tallying: 8/4/1 (R/D/tie). So, having control of only 2/3's of the courts is a no-holds-barred crisis for the Right?

      Radarlady

  •  Interesting perspective (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks!

    I want to digest this a bit before I comment further.

    Radarlady

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