Patterico's Pontifications


The Power of the Jump™: If David Savage Covered the Supreme Court in 1973

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Humor,Judiciary — Patterico @ 9:04 pm

(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)

Here is today’s Page A1 L.A. Times story, as it would have been written in 1973. I have left unchanged the headline and the sub-headline. The opening paragraph and much of the other language is substantially the same:

Judges Battle Transcends Numbers

Republicans already rule most federal courts. The issue is how far right the GOP can take them.

By David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The looming battle over judicial nominees probably won’t make much difference in the federal courts. That’s because Republican appointees already dominate them.

For example, currently, six of the nine seats on the U.S. Supreme Court have been filled by Republican appointees. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has been a Republican appointee for two decades. And for more than a decade, the two intellectual leaders of the Supreme Court were Republican appointees. One of those men has been replaced by yet another Republican appointee, and the other remains on the Court, and is still considered one of its most influential members.

Though it remains a staple of conservative rhetoric that the courts are “out of control” and driven by “liberal activists,” the GOP’s control of the Supreme Court has given Republicans — if not conservatives — a firm grip on the federal judiciary. Although many conservatives have complained about decisions issued this year, the most important decision of the year was written by yet another Republican appointee.

It is true that party labels don’t necessarily mean much on the bench. For Republicans, that has become especially clear as the party has moved further to the

[See Judges, Page A32]

right, in some cases leaving “conservative” judges looking “moderate.”

The fight may have more to do with the kind of Republican who joins the courts, in particular the Supreme Court. While Democrats try to fight judicial nominees they see as conservative ideologues, the Republican leadership pushes for right-leaning judges.

The dominance of GOP appointees on the Supreme Court has not led to predictably conservative rulings.

Indeed, just this year (1973) the Court created the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. That decision was written by Harry Blackmun, a Nixon appointee. Blackmun was joined by five other justices, four of whom were appointed by Republicans: William J. Brennan (Eisenhower), Potter Stewart (Eisenhower), Lewis Powell (Nixon), and Chief Justice Warren Burger (Nixon).

During the infamous “Warren Court” era, lasting from the mid 1950s through 1969, the two most influential members of the Court were Eisenhower appointees Brennan and Chief Justice Earl Warren. As a Republican appointee, Warren penned a number of important decisions, including Miranda v. Arizona. Although Warren has been replaced by Republican appointee Burger, Brennan remains on the Court as a longstanding Republican appointee.

With Nixon’s recent spate of appointments, it appears that the Republican stranglehold on the federal judiciary won’t stop anytime soon.

And it hasn’t!

3 Responses to “The Power of the Jump™: If David Savage Covered the Supreme Court in 1973”

  1. Yeah, but alot of RINO appointees.

    If only Judge Bork had been confirmed!

    Flap (bef92f)

  2. Of course Nixon and Ford’s candidates were selected with a Democratically controlled Senate. Likewise the first President Bush’s nominees. Nixon had two conservative southern Supreme Court nominees rejected. With Bush, one was the (as we now know) liberal Souter who was selected precisely because his views were hard to gauge making him more confirmable. Thomas had to go through the titanic battle before confirmation.

    Gerald A (fe1f90)

  3. Communist Vietnam has a Flourishing Economy?
    "The firmly Communist nation has a flourishing economy" -- that's what the subhead of an article in today's LA Times "says.":,0,326875.story

    The Big Picture (8da0de)

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.1832 secs.