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Begin the Thawing of James McReynolds


Long live bipartisanship!

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who has filled a secret court that oversees surveillance almost entirely with Republican-appointed judges, has named Judge José A. Cabranes, a Democratic appointee, to the panel that hears rare appeals of the surveillance court’s rulings.

You can probably guess the punchline

Although Judge Cabranes was appointed to United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Bill Clinton, he is considered among the more conservative-leaning Democratic appointees on crime and security issues. In 2005, some supporters — including Michael Mukasey, who later became President George W. Bush’s attorney general — floated his name as a potential Supreme Court nominee.


Judge Cabranes, who has never served in the executive branch, is not a liberal counterweight to conservatives on privacy rights, legal experts said.

In 2009, he was on a panel that dismissed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by a group of lawyers seeking to know whether they had been wiretapped under the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program.

Apparently Zombie Byron White turned down the job.

[Edited for pasting wrong paragraph FAIL.]

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