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I've always wondered this about the SCOTUS:

  1. habee profile image91
    habeeposted 4 years ago

    Why is that Republican presidents appoint conservative, liberal, and moderate justices and associate judges, but Democrat presidents nominate only liberal judges?

    Republican presidents nominated:


    I’m not including Blackmun because he began as a conservative.

    White, appointed by JFK, might be the possible exception to the rule.

    1. Quilligrapher profile image87
      Quilligrapherposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      How are you, Habee? You pose another good question.

      It’s called “stacking the court” and it is a time-honored tradition exercised by both Presidents and the Congress to achieve political objectives by altering the make-up of the court. Your labels may not reveal the real purposes behind their nominations because justices are appointed with a mission. Remember the Bush-Gore election was decided by a Supreme Court that interpreted the Constitution along strict party lines!

      Tweaking the court not only involves appointments, but also impeachment and changing the number of sitting justices. During Barack Obama’s bid for the White House, Jean Edward Smith observed in a New York Times op-ed piece printed in July 2007, “If the current five-man majority persists in thumbing its nose at popular values, the election of a Democratic president and Congress could provide a corrective. It requires only a majority vote in both houses to add a justice or two. Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative colleagues might do well to bear in mind that the roll call of presidents who have used this option includes not just Roosevelt but also Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and Grant.” (1)

      If Presidents can not replace Justices to achieve a goal, they can always, with the support of Congress, add a couple more.


      1. habee profile image91
        habeeposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        Hi, Quill. I'm not sure I'm following you. If the purpose is to "stack the court" with appointees from "your side," why didn't conservative presidents always appoint conservative justices?

        1. Quilligrapher profile image87
          Quilligrapherposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Good day, Habee.

          Political labels are convenient modifiers when applied to large groups or broad spectra of issues. However, I am one who believes they become increasingly less reliable for identifying or predicting attitudes and opinions when they are applied to smaller and smaller sets of people and/or issues. When applied to a single person or issue, they become hasty generalizations that are almost useless. Therefore, it is impossible for me to transfer a label attached to a specific issue to someone who supports that issue and vice versa.

          I do not expect a President and his Supreme Court nominees to always agree on all issues just because they share the same political label. What matters to the President, I think, is how the nominee’s perspective on certain issues will counter or advance the court's leaning. This is why I said labels do not reveal the real purpose behind a nomination.

          Let me put it another way. If I sometimes agree with Democrats, sometimes agree with Republicans, and always vote for a Democrat, am I acting like a liberal or a conservative? Now that I’m wearing a label, how does that predict how I think? Suppose I live on a lake that is being polluted by an industrial giant. If I then vote against big business on environmental issues, can you predict how I stand on climate change? A Supreme Court justice who favors Federal unemployment benefits might be a liberal, a socialist, a Libertarian with an unemployed son-in-law, or an ultra-conservative with a conscience. Go figure. roll

          I hope this clarifies my post about court appointees. If it’s still not clear, at least you know what I think about political labels. big_smile

    2. couturepopcafe profile image61
      couturepopcafeposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Because, contrary to the general perception, Republicans try to view with a perspective of fairness in judging Justices. Democrats so not. Very simple and thanks for pointing to it.

      1. Quilligrapher profile image87
        Quilligrapherposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I can’t tell if this is sarcasm; an unbiased, open-minded observation; or neither. big_smile

        1. couturepopcafe profile image61
          couturepopcafeposted 4 years ago in reply to this

          Let the appointing speak for itself.