Sunday, April 11, 2010

Justice John Paul Stevens is no "liberal"

Justice Stevens was never as liberal as the lamestream corporate press (and a lot of progressive bloggists) would have you believe. He was and has always been a moderate, even as the SCOTUS has moved (not tilted...)... moved extremely to the right. Paul Campos:
During the 35 years that John Paul Stevens has served on the Supreme Court, the liberal federal judge has become something of an endangered species. Nothing illustrates this better than the absurd idea that Stevens has been a “liberal” justice. That a moderate justice like Stevens is now considered the leader of the court’s “liberal” wing really just goes to show that the Roberts court doesn’t have a liberal wing at all. [...]

What has changed, of course, is the rest of the court. In 2010, a life-long moderate Republican, appointed to the bench by Richard Nixon and to the court by Gerald Ford, is a “liberal” in much the same sense that, in a nation where Tea Party rallies draw large crowds, Barack Obama is a “socialist.” Since Stevens joined the court, every single new justice has been more conservative than the justices who were more liberal than Stevens at the time of his appointment. Over the past 34 years, Stevens stayed put while the entire court moved to his right. (One ironic consequence of this is that speculation regarding whether Obama will nominate someone who will “excite the left” to replace Stevens often ends up focusing on candidates who, on many important issues, aren’t actually to the left of Dick Cheney.)
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