Friday, March 18, 2016


The nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court is a controversial issue.  Much of the media and Democrats are labelling him a "moderate" or "centrist."  Apparently they feel that because many Republican Senators supported his nomination to a U.S. Court of Appeals position that he is a moderate.  This appears to be the only basis for such a label as a thorough analysis of his decisions and opinions has not been done.  This is a very slim reed and rather disingenuous.  I don't know if those holding this position are ignorant or just being misleading. They should have consulted some of the experts of judicial attitudes/ideology such as Prof. Lee Epstein.  Here's  an article from the left-leaning NY Times that helps set the record straight.

“In the face of Republican opposition to a Supreme Court nomination, President Obama needed a candidate who had support from Republicans in the past but who would still move the court in a progressive direction.

Merrick B. Garland, who was on President Obama’s shortlist for previous Supreme Court nominations, was confirmed 76 to 23 as a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1997.

He Could Shift the Court to Be More Liberal

If Judge Garland is confirmed, he could tip the ideological balance to create the most liberal Supreme Court in 50 years. Measures of ideology by four political scientists show where the justices stand in relation to one another. Judge Garland’s score is based on the score of his appointing president, Bill Clinton. This methodology is considered to be a “reasonably good predictor of voting on the Supreme Court,” says Prof. Lee Epstein of Washington University.”

The ratings by Epstein et al. place Garland to the left of liberal justices Kagan and Breyer but not quite as liberal as the two most liberal justice Ginsburg and Sotomayor. Garland is not anywhere near the center of the ideological spectrum.   Kennedy is the closest.
Moving the Court to the left endangers individual Second Amendment rights, constitutional limits on executive power in pursuit of liberal goals, First Amendment and other rights.

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