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Conservative Domination of the Federal Courts

[ 5 ] October 31, 2008 |

As a welcome companion to Steven Calabresi’s silly ranting about how — horrors! — Barack Obama may completely transform the federal courts (if a whole bunch of relatively young judges retire en masse, of course, Charlie Savage brings some data about the extent to which Bush has transformed the federal courts. Democrats control exactly…one of the 13 federal circuit courts (with 2 being evenly split), and overall Republican appointees represent a whopping 62% of the federal circuit courts. Moreover, these numbers probably understate the reactionary tilt of the federal courts; recent Republican presidents have tended to be much more committed to appointing strong conservatives than Democratic presidents have been to appointing strong liberals.

In his first term, Obama will just be attempting to restore balance to the courts. And what they would look like after a couple more Republican terms is something I don’t even want to contemplate. And I hope that Obama will look beyond the cautious moderates he seems attracted to for some appointments.

Comments (5)

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  1. Anderson says:

    “relatively young justices”
    Judges. Not justices.

  2. Whoops — I’m guilty of Supreme COurt centrism even when I complain about it!

  3. I too hope that Obama will restore balance to The Force. As for looking beyond those cautious moderates: don’t tell them over at NRO, but I hear the smart money is on Lynne Stewart for SCOTUS.

  4. rea says:

    Our federal judciary is overworked–particularly the Supremes. A top priority for the Obama administration ought to be increasing the number of federal judges by 50%, and adding two new seats to the Supreme Court (9 has been typical in recent years, but the Court has been different sizes throughout its history).

  5. Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Well, Stevens will almost certainly retire, and Souter and Ginsburg are getting up in years. So, most likely, three reliably liberal judges will be replaced with 3 younger clones of themselves. Won’t the big question be, if Obama wins, will Kennedy retire?

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