May 18, 2007

Trende: The Right Has Reasons to be Happy

Richmond lawyer and Human Events columnist Sean Trende believes that conservatives have reason to be happy about the progress they have made in recent years.

“The conservative advance on the Supreme Court has been so glacially slow that most conservatives do not even realize that it has occurred…While the progress has been slow, it has been real…With President Bush’s appointment of Chief Justice Roberts and especially Justice Alito, conservatives can expect the pace of change to quicken.”

He also correctly points out that “[w]hile both Justices Kennedy and O’Connor often disappointed conservatives by placing brakes on the more conservative members of the Court, they often diverged.” Therefore, conservatives have reasons to be optimistic about a shift back towards judicial moderation and respect for the Constitution on cases in which O’Connor, but not Kennedy, disappointed conservatives and libertarians, including government regulation of political speech.

This is all good news. However, Mr. Trende picks the worst possible era in the history of judicial activism, or at least liberal judicial activism, as a comparison. Decisions such as Roe, Kelo, McConnell, Gratz and Grutter still remain on the books and we still have a long way to go before we can say that the Court has returned to its proper place in our democracy with a proper understanding of the original intent of the Constitution.

Furthermore, we can’t focus solely on the Supreme Court. Most of the critical legal decisions made by the federal courts are made at the Courts of Appeal level. With the Supreme Court’s docket shrinking, getting constitutionalist judges on the Circuit Courts becomes even more important, especially with the 2008 elections approaching and the Democrats looking to hold as many seats open on the federal judiciary for President Hillary whether by use of the “Thurmond Rule” or simply by slowing down the confirmation process to a standstill