SCOTUS and Republican Presidents

There is little doubt that the next president will appoint multiple justices to the Supreme Court. Many people have used that point when they advocate for voting for the Republican nominee instead of the Democrat. I am not going to join Ann Coulter in her strange rant but I will examine the history of Republican appointments to the court.

The Supreme Court has 9 justices, 8 associates and the chief justice. Currently there are 4 liberals, 4 conservatives, and one swing vote. The 4 conservatives were all appointed by Republican presidents (1.) So far so good. The one swing vote, Kennedy, was appointed by Reagan. Fair enough. Among the 4 liberal justices 2 were appointed by Republicans (2.) That is a pretty mixed record. If Republicans presidents had appointed consistently conservative justices then we would have had a strict constructionist court a long time ago.

When you look at two of the worst court decisions ever, Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton, you find that 5 of the justices were appointed by Republican presidents (3.) One of the dissenters on Roe and Doe was actually appointed by a Democrat (4.) These two decisions were not only disastrous for the cause of innocent human life they invented an unwritten “right” from the penumbra (shadow) of the constitution. Excuse me! Five justices appointed by Republican presidents invented a “right” from the shadow of the constitution.

There is no absolute way to tell the a president will make good appointments to the count. Certainly the Republican label is very close to meaningless. You must look at the conservative record of the person making the appointment and even that is not a perfect system.

1. Reagan appointed Scalia, Bush(41) appointed Thomas, and Bush(43) appointed Roberts and Alito.
2. Ford appointed Stevens and Bush (41) gave us Souter.
3. Eisenhower appointed Brennan and Stewart. Nixon appointed Burger, Blackman, and Powell.
4. Kennedy appointed White.


  1. Frank Soto says

    You might find this article interesting:

    Calabresi and McGinnis have a lot of credibility on this issue.

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