Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Be careful what you wish for

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  • Zach Bagnall,

    Trying not to think about the Supreme Court appointments. The case that made same-sex marriage legal across the US was a 5-4 decision. Replacing Scalia with another hard liner is a given, but if two more of the elderly liberal-leaning judges are succeeded by conservative appointees under Trump.. that would make the Court a conservative, regressive institution for decades. Hard to imagine any more leaps forward in such an environment.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Zach Bagnall,

    Replacing Scalia with another hard liner is a given, but if two more of the elderly liberal-leaning judges are succeeded by conservative appointees under Trump.. that would make the Court a conservative, regressive institution for decades.

    Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I still really struggle to get my head around how much politics and the political system seems intertwined with expected normality of wider government in the USA, right from levels as low as arranging how elections and voting works, and all the way up to the top levels of appointments in the courts.

    I mean in the sense of how it's standard, sometimes effectively required, for people to register a political allegiance. That allegiance seems to follow people around in media and in future appointments as if everything about that person, and everything they do and why, is somehow tied to political ideology... and that the declared allegiance is at least as an appropriate way of judging them as their actual actions.

    Would it be acceptable in any other modern democracy if top level judges were appointed not specifically on their qualifications and experience, but on a political leader's assessment of the appointee's consistency with that leaders' ideology?

    Maybe that stuff happens in New Zealand and we just don't talk about it so openly, but I think what I find least comforting with seeing the USA is not that it's talked about so openly as that it's treated as completely normal and acceptable. What's the argument for that being a good way for things to work?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1141 posts Report Reply

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