As I speak to many of my more conservative-minded LDS friends, one political issue appears to dominate as the number 1 voting issue: Supreme Court Justices. While others like abortion and SSM also seem prevalent, my un-scientific and anecdotal evidence points to Supreme Court Justices as the number 1 issue.
A typical conversation goes something like:
Me: "You’re really going to vote for Bush. But his I.Q. is like 5 or so."
Conservative Friend: "That may or may not be true but I would vote for a baboon over a democrat because the president has all the power when it comes to Supreme Court Justices and something really needs to be done about that liberal activist court."
While the conversation is stylized it is more or less true and repeated often.
With this in mind, Tom DeLay’s comments today got me thinking. He lashed out against the courts that have "thumbed their noses at Congress" in not hearing the Schiavo case. According to DeLay, the 11th Circuit and the Supreme Court is an "arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary." He has phrased this nose-thumbing debate in a conservative vs. liberal framework (which I realize is what any good Congressional leader would do, right or left). But the similarities between DeLay’s anger today and my LDS conservative friends’ theory for choosing a president are uncanny. The Supreme Court is marginally conservative (numbering more republican appointed judges than democrat appointed judges, even controlling for a certain Justice from New Hampshire). The judges that heard the Schiavo case, both in state and federal court were not all liberal. And the Supreme Court (marginally conservative remember) refused to hear the case 6 times.
My point, in case you were all wondering, is that while many conservatives argue that the solution to their problems (especially on Roe and SSM) is to have a republican president appoint conservative and non-activist judges, this really doesn’t look like it will solve anything. In fact, DeLay today, threatened many of those conservative, non-activist judges with consequences (not ruling out impeachment).
In fact, the answer for conservatives seems to be judges who do what conservative politicians tell them to do. While, to be fair, this is a belief with a rich historical heritage on both sides of the aisle, it doesn’t seem to be the grounds to either build a cogent judicial-appointing philosophy nor really good grounds for choosing a president.
Maybe all the complaints about the judicial branch come down to the fact that politicians really can’t control lifetime-appointed judges (as was the intention). And sometimes judicial theory doesn’t translate 1 for 1 to political theory or partisan politics.