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Are you concerned about the president’s Supreme Court appointments?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on September 12, 2005

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Photo of Joe Rankin

“I’m very concerned. There will be a serious change in the court, and I don’t think I will agree with the type of people Bush is going to appoint.”

Photo of Stefanie Tracy

“Yes I am concerned, because I think they will lean to the radical conservative side. The abortion issue is my main concern.”

Photo of Bob Kilppel

“No. I don’t see any reason to be concerned about it. They have appointed other justices that didn’t have the background or experience that people are pushing for today.”

Photo of Lynn Wilson

“Yes. I think they will be too conservative.”

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gccs14r 12 years, 8 months ago

As if the Republic weren't in enough trouble....

crohan1978 12 years, 8 months ago

Why is it these are never questions asked when a liberal president is selecting extremely liberal judges? Do conservatives not have the right to be concerned? This paper has got to be one the most liberal papers in the country, extremely biased goes along w/ that last statement too.

KsjKC 12 years, 8 months ago

While I don't see Roe vs. Wade being overturned, I do see this point in history as an ideological shift on the court the likes of which we've not seen since Nixon had the chance to appoint three justices. Of course one of those appointee was William Rehnquist.

I'm not a big fan of extremism on either side of the scale, and my fear is that this President wouldn't know a moderate if one came up to him and said, "Hi, Sparky -- I'm a moderate..."

And then reached for the chalkboard to explain what a moderate was...(Sorry--if I can't start the day with a presidential dig, I get heartburn..)

enochville 12 years, 8 months ago

I like John Roberts. I want Roe v. Wade overturned. In the last presidential election, I wanted Kerry to win for a whole lot of reasons, but if Bush happened to win I would be happy for one reason-I knew he would appoint justices that might overturn Roe v. Wade.

I feel that the reason why we have a segment of the population that has lost the natural revulsion to abortion is due to repeated exposure to the philosophy that there is no harm in abortion and the convienient reframing of the taking of life into a woman's rights issue. It is classic systematic desensitization, where repeated exposure in stepwise progression extinguishes psychological aversion. Perhaps Alexander Pope states it best when he wrote in his "Essay on Man":

" Vice is a monster of so frightful mien, As to be hated needs but to be seen; Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace."

Just to clarify, in my general stance against abortion, I do make exception for circumstances where the mother's life is in danger. It is a very difficult choice when self-preservation is in the balance. But, I do not like the current stance of the Supreme Court. I know that even if Roe v. Wade were overturned, we'd still have a state by state battle ahead of us.

neopolss 12 years, 8 months ago

I couldn't care less. Considering that most appointments made to the bench usually don't follow what the current president wants out of them, I wouldn't give it too long before the new judges are being labeled "activist."

We shun the young ones for getting pregnant and being seen, and we hate them for wanting to get rid of it. In essence, we have created the very problem by social opinion. I'll worry more about the already born.

Flame on.

KsjKC 12 years, 8 months ago

I've heard conservatives are paranoid...How about you?

The reason this is news is that we have not had a new Chief Justice since 1986, when Burger defected for the Statue of Liberty committee and Reagan appointed Rehnquist...

If you don't recall the firestorm when Clinton named peolple to the court then you are a victim of paranoia AND selective memory....

David Ryan 12 years, 8 months ago

crohan1978 (and anyone else interested): has a great search engine, in case you aren't familiar with it. Here are some search results from the Journal-World on the phrase "Clinton Supreme Court Nominees":

From June 12, 1993:

From March 22, 1997:

From December 12, 1999:

Here's a link to the full search results, in case you want to peruse past Journal-World stories on Supreme Court Nominees:

KsjKC 12 years, 8 months ago

Crohan1978, you wrote: "Why is it these are never questions asked when a liberal president is selecting extremely liberal judges?"

The inferrence is that by extrapolation, this conservative president is selecting an extremely conservative judge?

Well, you nailed that far as we can tell in this hotbed of rabid liberalism...

PS--Have you no idea how conservative the editorial board of this newspaper is and has been for practically forever?

mr_daniels 12 years, 8 months ago

Nope. Not concerned at all. Roberts will interpret the Constitution. He will not legislate from the bench.

lunacydetector 12 years, 8 months ago

yes, i am concerned. i think john roberts will bring some normalcy back to the court. with sandra day o'conner leaving and rehnquist's death, this is a perfect situation to put even another normal person on the court. two normal judges.

judicial activists have led our country down a slippery slope of debauchery like the freedom of a mother to kill her own child. pitiful. more killed in the united states than what all the tyrants and dictators killed in history. over 44,000,000+ dead and still counting.

it amazes me that the proponents of abortion are killing their own democratic party just by attrition. why did gore lose? why did kerry lose? it's simple, the democrats killed off their voters before they were even born. these voters would've been 18 years old, old enough to vote had they been given the "choice" to live.

if roe v. wade is over turned, it will be good for the democratic party. something i can easily overlook in order for someone to live.

Liberty 12 years, 8 months ago

What allows the supreme court to 'legislate from the bench' is when misinformed lower courts and police enforce decisions made by a court instead of only the law that was created by Congress.

Concerning the question the answer is no, as long as those appointed to the court are just in their decisions by honoring God and the Constitution. Too much weight is placed on prior decisions to slowly twist justice and pervert it.

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

not concerned.

and roberts shouldn't answer any questions he doesn't want to.

just like ginsburg didn't.

I didn't mind when she didn't answer questions, so I don't mind now.

craigers 12 years, 8 months ago

Even Money if you were poking fun at Slim Shady then I got what you were saying and it made me laugh. I guess nobody else saw that movie.

I'm not concerned since I know that Bush will appoint judges that are concerned with interpreting the Constitution correctly and conservatively. Even if certain decisions don't get overturned I would be thankful that we won't be heading down the same liberal path that we have been on in the recent past.

neopolss 12 years, 8 months ago

I love how many of the "activist" judges were appointed to the bench by conservatives. The public's memory is indeed short term.

hottruckinmama 12 years, 8 months ago

lol. everything this president does concerns me.

BunE 12 years, 8 months ago

I am concerned but I am not losing much sleep over it. The Senate will do its job and we will see if the dems have any backbone. He will get through the process, and will be a Rehnquist clone.

In a fun twist on "Judicial Activism", the republicans in California are certainly excited by the prospect of "activist judges" getting involved in the gay marriage debate.

craigers 12 years, 8 months ago

They might be 'Slim' but he will be confirmed. Maybe 'Rabbit' will be nominated next?

wichita_reader 12 years, 8 months ago

I know I'm going to get grilled for this, but I'm definitely concerned about Robert's appointment. Consider the following.

In July of this year, Roberts sat on a three-judge D.C. Court of Appeals panel hearing the "Hamdan" case, and voted to uphold the Bush Administration's use of military tribunals to try prisoners held on terrorism accusations at Guantanamo Bay. Yet at the same time, he was interviewing for the Supreme Court position with some of the very same Administration officals named in that lawsuit. On July 15th, Roberts met with President Bush (also a named defendant in the suit) for his final Supreme Court interview -- and ruled in favor of the Administration in the Hamdan case.

Basically, we have a judge deciding a case in which one of the parties is an administration from which he is seeking a promotion. Unethical? No doubt. Should Roberts have recused himself? You bet. Any judge or attorney, and anyone with a bit of common sense can answer that question. Did Roberts recuse himself? No.

Do we really want this man to be the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court?

Like C+C Music Factory once sang, "[t]hings that make you go, hmm . . .."

captain_poindexter 12 years, 8 months ago

confirmation is guaranteed. the real battle will be for the O'Connor replacement.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago


The Latin term is "stare decisis." The idea is to allow settled law to stand (unless it's just absolutely wrong) so that the law as it is understood is not changing all the time. The concept of stare decisis does not preven the court from differentiating a case at hand from an already settled case if there is a clear factual or theoretical difference between the two.

Ahh, law school...I guess I did learn something there.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 8 months ago

E_M and E_M - very very very clever. You do-ma(i)n (assuming you are of the male persuasion).

Great movie. One of my favorites ever, after Blazing Saddles and Airplane.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

Whoops...prevent, not "preven." My bad.

rhd99 12 years, 8 months ago

Roe v. Wade ALLOWS American women to make their OWN decisions. Roberts' view on abortions is unclear to me. I know that the next justice Bush nominates is extremist & will work towards getting rid of Roe v. Wade. That is as un-American as it gets. America is about people making their OWN choices without government intrusion.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago


Yeah, most say they do, and most probably do. It takes 4 justices agreeing to even decide to hear a case, and stare decisis issues usually don't make that first cut because nobody wants to open the issue back up. Often, if settled law is brought back to the court, they take the opportunity to reaffirm it.

I had to chuckle when I saw your "translation" of my screenname. Someday, if you're lucky, I'll explain it.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 8 months ago

Gootsie said male "persuasion".

E_M's Friend: Hey, be a man! E_M: OK!

I don't have a problem with whomever will be placed in the Supreme Court, so long as they make decisions using constitutional values and not what they learned in bible school. Making any political decision in the name of a higher power only serves those who happen to believe in that said higher power.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

I, personally, don't know what Roberts will be like. He's got that "thing" that most jurists have, that mystery/mystique making him hard to read and hard to pin down. They always say that, even if people know a lot about the Justices, they can still remain anonymous because the Court isn't filmed, and people just don't recognize Justices' faces.

One Justice, and I can't remember who it is, said that he doesn't feel the need for a security detail in his daily life because no one knows him from Adam.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 8 months ago

GEB, thank you for noticing my three-syllable word this morning. It was tough on me.

e_m, you don't have to reveal your persuasion. We are anonymous right? Hiding behind our screen names. Or, as a very wise Bob said,

"The anonymity setting differentiates between people who stand by their comments and people who might be hiding behind their online anonymity for whatever reason."

"'ll still be able to post to our site even if you want to hide behind an anonymous screenname."

Signed, G

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 8 months ago

Gootsie I was just bein' silly. I didn't mean to offend you! Let's never fight again. Love, G

enochville 12 years, 8 months ago

rhd99: I agree that America is about Liberty, but I also thought America was about Life and the Pursuit of Happiness as well. Pure, unrestrained liberty, not tempered with other virtues results in murder, robbery, rape, and plunder. I only ask that you remember life while you promote liberty.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 8 months ago

GEB - Aw I knew you were just funnin'. No offense taken - really! I was feeling pretty genius-like with my big word!

Typical Monday for me - I typed in Google instead of Gootsie. You did that subliminal thing on me, omb!!


rhd99 12 years, 8 months ago

Enoch, thanks for reminding me. I did mean that I respect the values of our country, Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness. Part of what this nomination of Roberts UNLIKE Rhenquist entails is VERY questionable at best. I mean, the hot button issue of Roe v. Wade opens a pandora's box for EVERYBODY in this country. Abortion NEEDS to be left up to the MOTHER & a family, NOT the government. That is why I am pro-choice. I suscribe to the values you mentioned, but I also believe in free choice as long as our choices are within the laws of this country.

Fangorn 12 years, 8 months ago

I always hope (usually in vain) that SCOTUS appointees will have some respect for what the Constitution actually says, not what their personal policy preferences imagine it to say. I hope Bush has the sense to appoint a strict constructionist, but Bush I gave us Souter who was decried as a right-wing extremist when he was nominated but turned out to be just another left-leaning big government type. No one cried about "balance" on the court or the leftward lurch it was taking when Ruth Bader Ginsberg was nominated 11 years ago. Clinton got to make his choices, Bush should get his.

rhd99: I have a serious question regarding the last sentence in your 1:09 post. If R v. W is overturned and the right to restrict abortion is returned to the states and then Kansas prohibits or severely restricts abortion, would you be willing to accept that since it would be "within the laws of this country"? I guess the reason for my question is to ask if something being merely legal makes it OK (moral, just, acceptable, whatever). Or are there values that transcend laws that might cause you (or me) to say "This law is wrong"?

Fangorn 12 years, 8 months ago

A follow-up question for everyone, based on an earlier post: How does one define an "activist" judge?

heretoday 12 years, 8 months ago

good job guys! No one today has gone to the jugular on either side today! I am proud we are all grappling with this question in a socratic way and not throwing the fbomb to one another.

enochville 12 years, 8 months ago

People who use the term "activist judge" mean someone who interprets the law differently from them and codify their interpretation into the way the law can be applied. I stress the phrase "differently from them" because contrary to the belief of some, all readings of the law are subjective to some extant. In other words, there is no objective meaning of the law.

As no one can speak without an accent, likewise, no one can read law without inserting their own interpretation or slant on its meaning.

There is a saying I like which says, "I speak out of the context of your experience, and you hear out of the context of yours". For example rhd99 feels that Liberty includes the meaning of the right to end the life of one's child and Life only applies to human beings who have been born. I feel the opposite. Both interpretations are subjective. There is no objective source that we can turn to to say definitively what is meant by Liberty and Life.

If there are activist judges, I think they are those who apply the law in a way vastly different from the general consensus of the population or overthrow judicial precedent.

enochville 12 years, 8 months ago

That quote was supposed to read, "I speak out of the context of my experience, you hear out of the context of yours"

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

Sorry guys--lunch and then a meeting. You may refer to me as "a" followed by whatever sneeze of letters comes out of your keyboards. Sometimes my husband even gets the letters wrong!

rhd99 12 years, 8 months ago

Fang, I am merely saying that it needs to be left up to a woman, her family & the doctors to decide if these abortions are right for women. I am pro-choice because of this: what happens if there was incest or rape prior to the pregnancy? The health of a woman giving birth after rape & incest could be in danger. The danger could also arise if an abortion is conducted. That is at the heart of why this issue bothers America so much with Roberts' nomination to succeed Rhenquist. I too am confused as to where Roberts resides on this issue. Another thing, our Kansas politicians will do ANYTHING to try to stop abortions altogether. Phil Kline is leading that effort & quite frankly, given his questionable past, he is an abysmal failure as Attorney General of Kanas. That does not say nice things for a government official like Kline where this abortion issue is concerned.

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

Must go. Can't wait to see what other smatterings of letters people come up with for my screen name...

Come on, guys...Be creative!

avhjmlk 12 years, 8 months ago

TOB--truly lovely, that last one. Didn't even notice it until just now. You are my new favorite person.

heretoday 12 years, 8 months ago

I am confident that Bush will try to find a benelovant and worthy replacement for the justice of the law. I do not know if Roberts will push overturning Roe v Wade but I hope that he trys. The court will decide if there's a constitutional right to partially deliver a late-term child and then destroy it. Partial-birth abortion is making its way to the Supreme Court and I am hoping that it and all abortion is ruled as being unconstitutional...... smear me if you like. Bear in mind the child's rights to bless our existence. THe abortion issue is divided amongst party lines in the Senate and unfortuantely most people want it to stand.

heretoday 12 years, 8 months ago

Roberts confirmation hearings are on Foxnews if you would like to tune into the commentary....

heretoday 12 years, 8 months ago

Since CNN and MSNBC are switching back and forth from FEMA and Tropical ophelia I just thought I would let yall know that Fox is having commentary from both the left and the right. Sorry you think its funny.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 8 months ago

avhjbobrulesmlk (partial listing)


heretoday 12 years, 8 months ago

TOB. None taken..... I do understand how all the muckity muck can get mucky when everyone is trying to pull their own opinion via the media. I did hear something of the sort. The Geraldo deal...its hard to get what one does or says legitimately. Don't mess with Geraldo when he's helping old ladies! Its good that he is trying to set the record straight. But I can see the humor in this!

Shane Garrett 12 years, 8 months ago

I just want to know their views on medical herbs. Pro or con. As if I had a vote in this matter.

Horace 12 years, 8 months ago

To the people who are concerned about judges who "make law", you might want to inform yourself about the common law system we use in the US. Most "law" comes from judges.

If you want a civil law system where judges don't make law...

then move to France!

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 8 months ago

I'm about to have a FREAKIN' HEART ATTACK ABOUT IT!! I sometimes catch myself hyperventilating when I think about this. I need a paper bag . . . Brown's ignore fest with Miss Kitty and the lies in his published biographical data might be big enough screw ups to see him rewarded with one of supreme court nominatons! Guess I picked the wrong time to quit smokin'. . .

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 8 months ago

Wow! I just read that Brown resigned - this he got right.

jonas 12 years, 8 months ago

Haha, couple posts down and lunacydetectors "democrat party dying by attrition" argument spouts back up! Because we know that ONLY democrats have abortions, and NO republican would ever kill any baby, or be guilty in the slightest way of hypocracy.

jonas 12 years, 8 months ago

Fangorn: "Activist judge"= modified noun phrase. def. Judge that I disagree with.

I would think that obvious.

Mike Ford 12 years, 8 months ago

I'm going to call out the "Know-nothings" for what they are.

Activist judges like Earl Warren, pushed Civil Rights in spite of bigotry and denial of the 14th Amendment by Dixiecrat/Republicans of now in the South, ( I know, I LIVED THERE 20 YEARS AGO). I hope all of these anti- intellectual Republicans realize their attitudes spell them out for the racists they are. Forty years ago, they would be out and out racists. When they were made to see the homicidal racist stupidity they espoused, they spent the next thirty years coining words like "Political Correctness" and "Activist Judges" to take themselves off the hook for their racist tendencies by attacking the messenger and avoiding responsibility for their racist comments and acting like victims? PLEASE!

I'm bringing the conversation back up to an intellectual level because I'm tired of FOX NEWS 101 and Neo-cons who couldn't think themselves out of wet paper bag. I've engaged quite a few of them and they're clueless. They emulate the "Dumbing down" of diologue. They can't carry on an intelligent conversion. When you get into a discussion with them, they freak out and start yelling like Bill O'Reilly.

If this Roberts guy can follow the rule of law regardless of his politics, he's proved to me he can think and cite legal precedents. However, if he pulls a Rehnquist or Scalia and rules from a partisan nature, He's just a new version of the old horse, and a scary one at that. I do give him props for scaring Sam Brownback, though.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 8 months ago

Who am I kiddin? I can't betray E_M, he's my real favorite.

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