Poor Neil tried to start a discussion about a truly moderate Supreme Court nominee possibility, Ed Prado. The post quickly got taken over by trolls saying Bush could appoint whoever he leaks because that’s what people elected him to do.
Did they? Something you don’t want to see in a nice democratic system is randomness. Do we elect Presidents for their Supreme Court justices? Bush’s first term never nominated one, and Clinton’s term before that didn’t either. And both NARAL and the pro-life brigade have been yelling about Roe v Wade being overturned for so long that it’s easy for the public to simply forget concerns about the SCOTUS. Now all of a sudden it looks like Bush will nominate two justices this summer, reshaping the court entirely.
How were voters to predict or vote based on this? If you’re an Iraq war hawk who’s rabidly pro-choice, or vice versa like a peaceful suburban mother, how do you choose? Do you go with the issue that will surely be affected, or the issue that may or may not be affected, but could remake the court for decades.
In truth they vote for what’s on their minds at the time, and politicians know that. That’s why we see less and less respect for democratic mandates. Democrats believe Bush only won because of slime thrown on Kerry, war-mongering, and ignorance by the general public. True or not, it seems they have pretty good reason to not worry about a filibuster ruining their public approval. They rightly believe doing everything reasonable to stop a pro-life nominee will have political benefits. If there were respect for popular mandates in DC, the Democrats wouldn’t oppose Bush’s nominee because it would be costly. That’s how democracy supposed to work, after all.
PS: I understand there is randomness inherent in every policy decision the President will eventually deal with. I still think there’s a big difference between internal factors that could be remedied, or external factors that are simply unfair.
PPS: Anyone else see the "lemons market" problem in SCOTUS nominees?