Obama could have big impact on federal appeals courts


By Here we go again
Mon.02-06-2012

If Obama gets control of the Courts it will be over and no one will have their freedom, you look at it now, He has just about control of every thing else, and this will just about kill this Country and Americas freedom. Look at who has a job people he picks, Government and some Unions.

DC Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds PPACA (outsidethebeltway.com)

Affordable Care Act For WHO, not the American people who are broke now and can not afford it, you will see more Families living on the streets, it will be Home and Job or Insurance, can’t have both with no money.

Obama-Roberts Legacies to Be Shaped by Court Health-Care Ruling – BusinessWeek (businessweek.com)

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Executive Branch – POLITICS

Second Term for Obama could have big impact on federal appeals courts

Published February 06, 2012 Associated Press

A second term for President Barack  Obama would allow him to expand his replacement of Republican-appointed  majorities with Democratic ones on the nation’s appeals courts, the final stop  for almost all challenged federal court rulings.

Despite his slow start in nominating judges and  Republican delays in Senate confirmations, Obama has still managed to alter the  balance of power on four of the nation’s 13 circuit courts of appeals. Given a  second term, Obama could have the chance to install Democratic majorities on  several others.

Fourteen of the 25 appeals court judges nominated by  Obama replaced Republican appointees.

The next president, whether it’s Obama or a  Republican, also has a reasonable shot at transforming the majority on the Supreme  Court, because three justices representing the closely divided court’s  liberal and conservative wings, as well as its center, will turn 80 before the  next presidential term ends.

The three justices are Ruth  Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing, conservative Antonin  Scalia, and Anthony  Kennedy, who leans conservative but on some issues provides a decisive vote  for the liberals.

The next high court opening would cause a titanic  confirmation fight if it would allow a Republican president to cement  conservative control of the court by replacing Ginsburg or if Obama could give  Democratic appointees a working majority for the first time in decades by  replacing Scalia or Kennedy.

The prospect of such dramatic change on the Supreme  Court, along with the justices’ strikingly high-profile election-year docket  could heighten the judiciary’s importance as an election issue, said Curt Levey,  who heads the conservative Committee for Justice. The justices will hear  arguments on Obama’s health care overhaul in March and Arizona’s immigration  crackdown in April. The court also could soon decide whether to hear a Texas affirmative  action case challenging the use of race as a factor in college  admissions.

Even one new justice can produce dramatic change.  Justice Samuel  Alito replaced the more moderate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and shifted the  outcome in cases on abortion, campaign finance and other key issues, even though  both were appointed by Republicans.

Openings on the circuit courts of appeals get much  less attention, but those courts have the last say in most legal disputes that  are appealed in the federal system. Only about 80 cases make it to the Supreme  Court every year.

There are still more Republicans than Democrats on  the circuit appeals courts and on the entire federal bench. But if Obama merely  filled existing vacancies, Democratic appointees would be the majority on the  influential court of appeals in Washington, where four current Supreme Court  justices once served, and the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Republicans also maintain their edge on the 10th Circuit in Denver only because  two judgeships are empty.

Two other appeals courts on which Republicans have  comfortable majorities could shift over the next four years. The Chicago-based  7th Circuit has four judges in their 70s who were chosen by Presidents Ronald  Reagan and George  H.W. Bush. In the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit, Judge Emilio Garza, a  Republican appointee, will take senior status in August, a move that will open a  seat while Garza takes a smaller caseload. Two Reagan picks in their 70s remain  on the court.

Twelve Reagan appointees now in their 70s remain on  circuit appeals courts or, in the case of Scalia and Kennedy, the Supreme  Court.

Republican presidents, in recent decades, have been  more aggressive than Democrats in filling those seats with younger, more  like-minded lawyers.

Many nominees of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George  W. Bush were in their early 40s, some even in their 30s, and with  reputations as bold conservatives. By contrast, Obama has frustrated some  liberal interest groups mainly by favoring older nominees over younger ones who  might be the Democratic equivalents of some of the Reagan and Bush picks.  Obama’s two youngest appeals court nominees, Goodwin Liu and Caitlin Halligan,  were stymied by Republican filibusters in the Senate.

The average age of Obama-nominated appeals court  judges is more than 55 years old, higher than any president’s going back to Jimmy  Carter, according to the liberal interest group Alliance for Justice. The  age of these judges matters in an era when presidents regularly look to the  circuit appeals courts as the pool for Supreme Court candidates. Younger judges  have a chance to develop a record that presidents can examine, yet still be  young enough to be considered for the high court.

Alito and Justices Stephen  Breyer, Sonia  Sotomayor and Clarence  Thomas all became appellate judges in their early 40s. Chief Justice John  Roberts, a Republican appointee, and Justice Elena  Kagan, a Democrat, would have been on the appeals court in Washington before  their 40th birthdays had senators not blocked their confirmations. Roberts had  to wait another decade before becoming an appeals court judge, while Kagan is  the only justice who did not serve as an appellate judge.

Obama’s picks have yet to surprise anyone with their  decisions, said Levey, head of the conservative interest group. “So Obama’s  liberal critics can rest assured that if he’s re-elected, his transformation of  the appeals courts will make a big difference in the law.”

Party labels do not always foretell a case’s  outcome. During recent challenges to the Obama administration’s health care  overhaul, Republican appeals court judges in Cincinnati and Washington cast  deciding votes upholding the law, while a Democratic appointee in Atlanta voted  to strike down the requirement that most people buy health insurance or pay a  penalty.

Still, there is wide agreement that Obama picks have  sharply altered the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had  been dominated by conservative, Republican appointees.

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