The Decision-Making Behavior of George W. Bush's Judicial Appointees

By Carp, Robert A.; Manning, Kenneth L. et al. | Judicature, July/August 2004 | Go to article overview

The Decision-Making Behavior of George W. Bush's Judicial Appointees


Carp, Robert A., Manning, Kenneth L., Stidham, Ronald, Judicature


An analysis of overall voting patterns indicates that President Bush's judges are among the most conservative on record

What is the ideological direction of the judges whom Preside-in George W. Bush has appointed to the bench during his first term? Until now we have had no quantitative, empirical data to respond to this query. Critics of the President, often liberal Democrats, have suggested that Bush's judicial appointees are ultra-conservatives who arc hostile to the interests of racial minorities, women, the environment, personal privacy, and so on. "Right-wing extremists" is often the catch word of those who have opposed the President's judicial appointments, as echoed in this high ranking Democratic staff member's appraisal of the 2002 elections on the future content of the federal judiciary:

I...believe I liai the outcome ol this election will have very serious consequences because ol the powers of the majority....! think it will he the most successful court packing we have ever seen....! begin [this year] with a great sense ol foreboding and a sense that much of what the most extreme elements in the White House want to achieve will lie achieved within the next two years.1

President Bush and his supporters clearly have a very different view of the men and women whom he is selecting for federal judicial posts. Former Assistant Attorney General Viel Dinh conceded that the administration was eschewing candidates who might appear to be "judicial activists," hut he asserted that

We are extremely clear in following the President's mandate that, we should not, and do not and ran not employ any Lpolidcal-ideological] litmus test on any one particular issue, because in doing so we would Ix; guilty of politicizing the judiciary and that is as detrimental as if we were unable to identify men and women who would follow the law rather than legislate from the bench.2

This article seeks to shed some light on whether or not the President is making ideologically based appointments and whether his judicial cohort is deciding cases in the manner anticipated by most court observers. It is organized around two basic questions: What might we expect of the Bush administration's potential to have an ideological impact on the federal courts? What do the empirical data tell us so far about the way that the Rush cohort has been deciding eases during the four years of his presidency?

A sympathetic judiciary

Judicial scholars have identified four general factors that determine whether chief executives can obtain a judiciary that is sympathetic to their political values and attitudes:3 the degree of the president's commitment to making ideologically based appointments; the number of vacancies to be filled; the level of the chief executive's political clout; and the ideological climate into which the new judicial appointees enter.

Presidential support for ideologically based appointments. One key aspect of the success of chief executives in appointing a federal judiciary that mirrors their own political beliefs is the depth of their commitment to do so. Some presidents may be content merely to fill the federal bench with party loyalists and pay little attention to their nominees' specific ideologies. Some may consider ideological factors when appointing Supreme Court justices but may not regard them as important for trial and appellate judges. Other presidents may discount ideologically grounded appointments because they themselves tend to be non-ideological. Still others may place factors such as past political loyalty ahead of ideology in selecting judges.

For example, Harry Truman had strong political views, but when selecting judges he placed loyalty to himself ahead of the candidate's overall political orientation. Un the other hand, Presidents Ronald Reagan and LyndonJohnson are examples of presidents who had strong ideological beliefs on many issues and who took great pains to select judges who shared these beliefs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Decision-Making Behavior of George W. Bush's Judicial Appointees
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.