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Judicial Appointments and Presidential Politics

Among the most lasting actions a President takes are his appointments to the federal courts.  Most of the Carter Administration is just a distant, bad memory, like a recurring nightmare that you used to have but haven't had in many years.  However, Carter's abysmal appointments to the Ninth Circuit plague the people of the Far West to this day.  Thank God and Potter Stewart he didn't get any Supreme Court appointments.

So judicial nominations really should get more attention as a campaign issue.  Tim Pawlenty has this ad touting his "conservative" appointments to the Minnesota Supreme Court.  Carrie Severino has this post at Bench Memos on the ad, and David Ingram has this post at BLT.

Of course, it is not "conservative" appointments we need but rather judges who believe in judicial restraint.  We need judges who will not graft their personal opinions on to the Constitution, declare them to be the supreme law, and "on the pretense of a repugnancy ... substitute their own pleasure to the constitutional intentions of the legislature."  "Conservative" judicial activism of the Hammer v. Dagenhart variety is every bit as bad as liberal judicial activism.  That doesn't fit in a political sound-bite, but I hope Pawlenty and the others understand the distinction.

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