View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Next president could re-align the Supreme Court

Right About Now

Posted: July 25, 2008 1:42 a.m.
Updated: September 25, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Awhile ago, I wrote an article entitled “Supreme Court direction.” I think that I was at least somewhat prophetic in regard to three recent Supreme Court decisions, two of which leaned to the left.

In all three of these decisions, Justice Anthony Kennedy — appointed by President Reagan after Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden and other Democrat henchman in the Senate “Borked,” or rejected the nomination of Robert H. Bork in 1987 — was the “swingman” who decided the issues.

Each decision by the Supreme Court came to a 5-4 vote. In all three instances the so-called conservative justices voted as a bloc. Chief Justice John Roberts and associate justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas all saw the three cases the same way.

Then on the other side the “Gang of Four” was glued together to vote opposite the other four on the right. That is to say, they voted against the conservatives who interpreted the cases the “right” way.

To refresh minds here, the “Gang of Four” who usually makes left turns are David Souter, Stephen Breyer, Paul Stephens and my favorite, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. After all, she was the general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union from 1973-1980.

She was appointed by William Jefferson Clinton and has been referred to by Barack Obama as “a very sensible judge.” Breyer was also a Clinton appointee.

Something is ironic here in regard to who appointed the other two in “The Gang of Four.” David Souter was appointed by George H.W. Bush, and Paul Stephens was appointed by Gerald Ford.

Two Republican presidents appointed these two leftist associate justices to the Supreme Court. Too bad the country cannot get a redo on these appointments, as it seems that two leopards did manage to change their spots.

Now we get to Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. Remember that Kennedy was appointed by Reagan only because Bork had been rejected by the Senate, which had a Democrat majority at the time.

To be fair, six Republicans also felt that Bork was “too conservative.” With Bork on the court and a redo on Stephens and Souter, our proud nation could have a court of seven conservative and rational justices confronted by only two judicial activists.

That means that Clinton’s appointees, Breyer and Ginsburg, would only be minor thorns in the side of the seven justices who would have been interpreting the Constitution in a manner intended by the “Founding Fathers.”

The three recent cases were as follows. In Louisiana a man was given the death penalty for raping his 8-year-old daughter in her bed and causing such serious injury to the child that surgery was required.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the death penalty application here was unconstitutional. Justice Kennedy was the decisive vote and wrote in the majority opinion that the death penalty is only applicable when death is caused or treason or espionage has been committed.

What would Ronald Reagan think today if he were alive to witness one of his appointees overrule the application of the death penalty by the state of Louisiana? The left has won again.

In another case that sent Kennedy to the left again, the president of the United States as commander in-chief was rebuked. The usual four on the right decided in favor of the non-application of the writ of habeas corpus to continue to hold the “War on Terror” suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

However, the “Gang of Four” prevailed again as Kennedy turned a hard left. Justice Scalia was appalled at the majority and felt that our national security was at stake here. Again, what would Ronald Reagan have said about Kennedy’s decision-making in this case?

Finally in the third case, the same 4-4 alignment developed again, but this time Kennedy regained his senses and joined with Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito to rule in favor of the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”

Hand-gun ownership was banned in Washington D.C. in 1976. Obviously this was a long-awaited decision by the high court.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but in this instance at least Kennedy got it right and fulfilled the intention of Reagan when the “Great Communicator” appointed Bork first, and then had to settle for Kennedy. This is a landmark decision regarding individuals and their self-defense.

Voters have to think hard about November. John McCain is not the “ideal” Republican, but he has pledged to appoint justices to the court in the mold of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito. The importance of similar appointees in the future is vital to the direction that the United States will take toward mid-century. Please recall that six on the court are over 68, and Stephens is 88.

Obviously there are no guarantees regarding Supreme Court appointees. Justices chosen by Ford, George H.W. Bush and Reagan have not panned out as projected, but possibly a McCain could avoid such unfortunate appointees.

We will be fine if he gets the chance to appoint three to the high court, and two of them live up to conservative principles. Our nation simply cannot afford any more activist justices on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Ron Eichler lives in Valencia. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. “Right About Now” runs Fridays in The Signal and rotates among local Republicans.


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...