Obama's Supreme Court Pick and Conservatives' Activist Myths

Ever hear of Bush v. Gore?

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

According to my colleague Paul Bedard, conservative peril-mongers are trying to rally the troops with a new fear tactic: assaulting would-be Obama Supreme Court nominees for their "empathy" in judicial decision-making. Empathetic? Perish the thought!

I'm no fiscal liberal—in fact, I'm for lower taxes and smaller government. But I'm getting a bit tired of conservative bellyaching about judicial restraint versus judicial activism. According to conservative lore, conservative jurists don't inject personal beliefs and feelings into their decision-making, they just follow the law. Liberals, on the other hand, infuse their rulings with activist sentiments to inflate the role of government. A law school education will relieve you (as it did me) of the fogginess of such poppycock.

Bedard reports in Washington Whispers that a group called the Judicial Confirmation Network has set up a new website called ObamasFrontRunners.com ...

that features biographical videos on all three (women who are supposed to be among the most likely Obama nominees). Each, says Long, is a liberal who will apply "empathy" and "personal feelings" to her court decisions. The new Web videos, and the organization's stepped-up outreach to conservatives, come as the administration and Democratic court watchers are talking up Obama's goal of hiring a middle-of-the-road judge. Recently, there has been less talk of "empathy" and more discussion of picking someone who employs judicial restraint. But Long called that "a giant deception" meant to hide the type of judge the Democrats want.

Want to read one of if not the most activist opinion handed down by the Supreme Court? Try perusing Bush v. Gore. In it, the conservative majority on the court intervened and overturned the Florida Supreme Court's decision on a matter of state or Florida law. If that's not judicial interventionism, nothing is. If that's not legislating from the bench, nothing is. Bush v. Gore represents a massive federal intrusion into an area of traditional state's rights (conservatives usually eschew federal intervention, unless of course the purpose is to place a member of the GOP in the White House). But you'll never hear conservatives complain about it, because their guy won.

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See who's on Obama's Supreme Court shortlist .