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Thursday, November 01, 2007 

Four out of Nine

The UK's Telegraph has published a list of the 100 most influential conservatives and the 100 most influential liberals. The lists are pretty decent and worth a look if you have a few minutes to kill. The lists did include four current Supreme Court Justices too...
8. JOHN ROBERTS
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

George W. Bush will bequeath his successor a head of the Supreme Court who could be on the bench for the next 30 years, shaping the parameters of American life for the next generation and beyond. Roberts joined the court as chief justice in July 2005. He was originally nominated by the president as an associate justice to replace the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor, but was given the top job when William Rehnquist died. At 50, he was the third youngest man to lead the court.

Bush chose him as a reliable conservative and he has not disappointed so far. But the Christian Right's holy grail of overturning Roe versus Wade and making abortion illegal is not among his plans, although he backs limiting practices such as partial-birth abortion. On issues such as the future of Guantanamo, the death penalty, the limits of what constitutes torture, the reach of executive power and conducting the war on terror, the Roberts court will have far-reaching influence. Already the Supreme Court under Roberts has become more conservative.


62. JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA
Supreme Court Justice

The first Italian-American to be appointed to the Supreme Court, by Ronald Reagan in 1986, "Nino" Scalia, 71, is beloved by conservative Republicans. A committed Roman Catholic and father of nine, he is a much more forceful and intellectually flamboyant personality than his fellow conservative justice Clarence Thomas.

A strict "textualist" and strongly anti-abortion, he adamantly opposes attempts to interpret the US constitution in the light of modern mores. If he were not such a lightning rod for criticism from Democrats, he would have been a natural Chief Justice. Has an acid wit, barbed tongue and relish for taking on his opponents.


85. CLARENCE THOMAS
Supreme Court Justice

It has been 16 years since the contentious confirmation hearings that threatened to stop him becoming the first black Conservative Supreme Court justice were held. In his recent book, he described the experience as being “pursued not by bigots in white robes but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony".

Still only 59, he could be on the court for another three decades, making him one of the longest serving justices in history as well as a reliable Conservative vote on virtually every issue. Adored by the party establishment, a Republican candidate is guaranteed a round of applause when he cites Thomas as a model jurist.


64. JUSTICE JOHN PAUL STEVENS
Supreme Court Justice

Although appointed by a Republican president, Gerald Ford, Stevens, 87, is the most reliable liberal vote on the Supreme Court. Despite his age, he shows no sign of retiring and appears healthy. Has led the judicial movement to restrict the use of the death penalty and to tie the hands of the Bush administration in its attempts to battle the Islamist threat.

Will play a key role in smoothing the path of any new justices appointed by a Democratic president and, perhaps, in identifying his successor.
In case you couldn't figure it out, the first three Justices were on the conservative list and Justice Stevens was on the liberal list. He still claims to be a conservative, but I can claim to be a beagle. That doesn't make it so.

Well, as I said here when Stevens proclaimed himself a conservative, there's a distinction between legal conservatives and political conservatives, and I'm willing to grant that Stevens might be the latter. The problem's that he's not the former. ;)

Very true. Stevens may write in Pat Buchanan's name for every presidential election, but that doesn't mean he reads a chapter of The Tempting of America before bed every night.

I wonder... is there anyone on record (at least with more evidence than Stevens has given us) as being a political conservative but a judicial liberal? I can't think of anyone off the top of my head.

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