Tuesday, April 20, 2004

By Their Supreme Court Appointments Ye Shall Know Them

Nixon: Rehnquist (later appointed Chief Justice by Reagan) -- Belongs in the second tier, all by himself. His instincts are statist rather than libertarian, but he tries to adhere to the original meaning of the Constitution.

Ford: Stevens -- What do you expect from Ford? A Republican in name only who interprets the Constitution the way a blind umpire interprets the strike zone.

Carter: He made no appointments, luckily for the nation.

Reagan: O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy -- O'Connor and Kennedy make up the third tier; they vacillate between libertarianism and statism. Scalia's originalism usually overcomes his instinctive statism; he's in the top tier with Thomas.

Bush I: Souter, Thomas -- Typically conflicted Bush I appointments; from another John Paul Stevens to the best appointment since the 1920s.

Clinton: Ginsburg, Breyer -- Clinton failed to nationalize health care, but stuck us with these two crypto-socialists.