Barack Obama has just gotten a taste of what many of his presidential predecessors have had to swallow as it regards federal judicial appointments.
Their court appointments didn’t vote nearly the way their benefactor — the president — wanted them to vote.
That, I submit, speaks quite eloquently to the need to keep the federal judiciary independent.
In two 9-0 rulings in recent days, the court struck down a Massachusetts law that regulated anti-abortion protesters and then it reeled in presidential appointment powers relating to recess appointments made when the Senate is not in session.
That means both of President Obama’s high court picks — Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — voted against the wishes of the man who nominated them to their dream job in the first place.
We hear yammering — mostly from the right wing of the political spectrum — that “unelected judges” wield too much power. This carping comes usually when the court rules against a cause or principle near and dear to conservatives’ hearts.
Indeed, the court has comprised many Republican appointees who’ve gone against the wishes of their presidential benefactors: Dwight Eisenhower picked Earl Warren to be chief justice and all Warren did was launch the Supreme Court on a whole range of landmark liberal court rulings, starting with the 1954 school desegregation ruling known as Brown v. the Board of Education.
Harry Blackmum (picked by Richard Nixon) wrote the Roe v. Wade abortion decision; John Paul Stevens (Gerald Ford) became a staunch liberal court member; Byron White (John Kennedy) voted “no” on Roe v. Wade; John Roberts (George W. Bush) voted with the majority to uphold the Affordable Care Act.
Now two of the court’s liberal justices — Kagan and Sotomayor — have joined their fellow liberals and conservatives on the court to stick it in President Obama’s eye on a couple of key issues.
So, let’s stop the griping about the federal court system. The founders set up an independent branch of government for a reason, which was to prevent its politicization when trying to interpret the U.S. Constitution.