On Wednesday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Max Boot argued that, while outgoing President Donald Trump's judicial confirmations will shift the federal courts right, some of these judges are nonetheless likely to disappoint Republicans at critical junctures if they are looking for mindless rubber stamps of their legal agenda.
"History suggests that judges often wind up disappointing the presidents who chose them," wrote Boot, noting that President Dwight Eisenhower privately raged about Chief Justice Earl Warren as “the biggest damn-fool mistake I ever made.”
Trump's appointees are clearly doing what the GOP wants in some cases, noted Boot, citing as an example last week's decision striking down New York state's limits on church attendance, in a move of "pure right-wing judicial activism."
But in other recent cases, Boot wrote, Trump-appointed judges have rebuked the GOP in efforts to attack democracy and eliminate representation for people of color.
"A three-judge panel composed of two George W. Bush appointees and one Trump appointee summarily dismissed the Trump campaign’s bogus claims of fraud in Pennsylvania," wrote Boot. "Judge Stephanos Bibas, a former Federalist Society member who joined the bench in 2017, wrote the opinion: 'Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.' This is typical of how judges across the country, Republicans and Democrats alike, are ruling on the Trump campaign’s fraudulent claims. Trump’s record in court is 1-39 so far."
"If Trump imagines that the Supreme Court will override the 3rd Circuit and throw out Pennsylvania’s election results, well, I have a Mar-a-Lago membership to sell you," wrote Boot. "On Monday, even the conservative justices evinced skepticism of the administration’s xenophobic attempts not to count undocumented immigrants in the census for the first time in history. 'A lot of the historical evidence and longstanding practice really cuts against your position,' Barrett told Trump’s acting solicitor general."
"Yes, this was the same Amy Coney Barrett whose vote was decisive in the New York covid case," concluded Boot. "Conservative judges have their own agendas, and they don’t necessarily align with the agenda of the president who appointed them."
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