Supreme Court Justices
by Thomas Katsampes

Taken from an email I sent my Dad on January 30, 2016:

Cruz is right about supreme court picks. EVERY time the democrats pick a justice that justice votes 100% reliably liberal. Even in cases e.g. the same sex marriage case, maybe you would think that Sotomayor for example being originally raised in a hispanic/puerto rican house (conservative family values culture), you would think her values might inform her vote, but no. Yet when Republicans pick justices, it's a coin flip as to whether the person we get is going to be a reliable conservative. Look at the justices he names: Warren, Brennan, Souter, Blackmun, Stephens, heck even Roberts isn't reliably conservative on big cases (e.g. Obamacare ruling). The only justices I can think of who are reliably conservative are Justices Alito and Scalia. I Now I'm not saying I want politics before law. The court is there to judge according to the law, not to promote political causes. But why does this happen only to Republicans? Can you name me a justice in the last 50-60 years that was a liberal when appointed but who "went conservative?" No, you can't because it's always the other way. So we really need to understand this. And Cruz says it is because Republican presidents don't want to spend the political capital getting a true conservative on the court. My gosh, he is exactly right! And is Trump willing to spend that capital like Cruz is?

Ever since Judge Bork, Republican presidents have felt that they can't "push too hard", they have to have someone who is accommodating, they have to find someone like Roberts who's willing to say, "I'm like an umpire who calls balls and strikes" instead of "this is how I interpret the law: I am an originalist/textualist judicial conservative." But when is Ruth Bader Ginsburg accommodating on important cases? Never. When is Breyer accommodating? Never. When is Sotomayor accommodating? Never, even on law and order cases. In fact they couldn't even be bothered to write an opinion on Obergefell! And Justice Kennedy is responsible for a boatload of terrible decisions (and a few good ones too). Why do liberal justices always stand on their ideological ground but conservative justices cave in half of the time?

We are long past the time, and there are too many vital issues at stake, where we can afford not to ASK serious questions about how these guys are going to rule during these confirmation hearings. Nationally, we are losing the country culturally. The country is lurching left and the last gasp of traditional American values is the Supreme Court. We need to ask these guys, how would you have ruled in Obergefell? Do you think the ruling in Kelo is correct? What about Casey? How do you define "settled law?" Do you believe that the court can invent rights that are not textually in the constitution (e.g. same sex marriage) or should should the assumption of federal jurisdiction over what was traditionally for centuries a state issue (civil marriage) require a constitutional amendment? Do you believe in "emanations and penumbras" to invent new rights where none had been legislated? How do you feel about Citizens United? etc. etc. etc. All these guys get during their confirmation hearing are softball questions and they are never really made to explain to people what IS their judicial philosophy. Another good question is when should the court step in and declare an act of Congress unconstitutional? Roberts *almost* did in the first Obamacare ruling - he spent 30 pages telling us why he should and then totally chickened out on a technicality. "Almost" only counts when tossing horseshoes and throwing hand grenades. Another question is do we start requiring rulings on major cases to be at least 6-3 or even 7-2? In other words if you can't get a super-majority of the court on major, fundamental cases (e.g. Obamacare, Casey, Obergefell, maybe Kelo), then maybe there is something wrong with the way the case is being argued? 5-4 decisions do not engender confidence in the Court and should be avoided if possible. So we should be asking these guys TOUGH QUESTIONS about specific rulings, how they would have ruled in specific cases, I don't care how controversial it gets, we can't afford to tip-toe around the real questions anymore.