What: "Why are Republicans so awful at picking Supreme Court justices?", The Washington Post
When: July 2, 2012
Washington Post columnist and American Enterprise Institute fellow Marc A. Thiessen reflects on Chief Justice John Roberts' alleged betrayal of his conservative fellows in last week's health care ruling:
So Democrats are four-for-four — a perfect record. Republicans are not even batting .500.
Why is the Democratic record so consistent while the Republican record is so mixed? For one thing, the whole legal and political culture pushes the court to the left. Conservatives are pariahs if they vote against the left on certain issues. But if they cross over vote with the left, they are hailed as statesmen. Just look the pre-emptive attacks on the Roberts Court when everyone thought it was about to strike down Obamacare — and contrast that with all the accolades Roberts is now receiving from his erstwhile critics. Before the decision he was threatening to plunge the nation into a political crisis. Today he is praised for his "humility," "restraint," being "brave" and "judicial modesty." Meanwhile, many conservatives are twisting themselves in knots to defend or explain his vote. Not a chance the left would do the same if one of the court's liberals had voted to overturn Obamacare. There is no penalty for voting left, but there is for voting right.
One of the reasons legal and political cultures appear to push constitutional law leftward might well be the nature of left and right themselves. Too often in the twenty-first century, people treat the notions as if they have equal weight, as if having one or the other opinion is simply a matter of opinions, and the proposition of effects and implications—that is to say, results—are irrelevant to the question of equivalency.