Tuesday, July 10, 2018


In The New York Times, Peter Baker writes this about the right-wing legal army that gave us Brett Kavanaugh:
Since the 1980s, a network of activists and organizations has worked assiduously to reach this point, determined to avoid the disappointment they felt after Republican appointees like Earl Warren, William J. Brennan Jr., David H. Souter, Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice Kennedy proved more moderate or liberal once they joined the court.

... groups like the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, the Judicial Crisis Network, the Judicial Action Group and [the] Committee for Justice have for years sought to develop a new generation of younger legal conservatives who would go into government and fill out lower levels of the judiciary.

... “You’re simply not going to get Souters anymore because no one will come up who nobody’s interacted with,” said Steven Teles, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law.”
No one will come up who nobody’s interacted with. That reminds me of a famous anecdote from Abner Mikva, a legislator and judge from Chicago who was a mentor to Barack Obama:
[Mikva's] first taste of Chicago politics, as he recounted in a taped oral history of the city, came when he walked into the headquarters of the Eighth Ward Regular Democratic Organization to volunteer:

“Who sent you?” the committeeman asked.

“Nobody,” he replied.

“Well,” the committeeman said, “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.”
That was what the right-wing legal establishment said to Donald Trump when he was running for president, and Trump has done as he was told: When it comes to judges, we don't want nobody nobody sent. We do the sending.

The Federalist Society is a political machine. Nobody calls it that because we think of political machines as local and Democratic, operations run by men who are "elites" (they're "bosses") even though they're crude. The right-wing bosses aren't crude -- they're extremely civil -- and they're nationwide, and also unswervingly Republican. But it's still machine politics.

Bob Casey gets it:
The idea that Mr. Trump would pick from a list developed by conservatives has inflamed some Democrats, including Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who declared that he would vote against Mr. Trump’s nominee even before the choice was announced Monday night.

“Any judge on this list is fruit of a corrupt process straight from the D.C. swamp,” Mr. Casey said in a statement.
Exactly. No machine judges. Drain the swamp.

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