Friday June 17- "The Supreme Court Confirmation Process and Constitutional Legitimacy: The Political Triumph of Judicial Conservatism" - Ed Whelan
By James Dudley on Friday, Jun 17 2011
In each of their first two years as President, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were presented the oppurtunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice. A mere sixteen years apart, the confirmation processes for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer, on the one hand, and for Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, on the other, were dramatically different, especially in the degree of opposition they aroused from Republican senators.
This difference, I will argue, reflects the popular political triumph of judicial conservatism over the past two decades - the triumph of originalist methodology over the "living Constitution," of Chief Justice Roberts's umpire metaphor of President Obama's empathy standard, of judicial restraint over liberal judicial acitivsm. More broadly, this triumph speaks to how the Constitution continues to shape and define American identity.