November 22, 2004

Judge the Conservatives

Jeffrey Rosen on possible Supreme Court nominations: "[T[he … important distinction is between principled conservatives (who believe in deference to legislatures through judicial restraint) and conservative activists (who are determined to use the courts to strike at the heart of the regulatory state)." That seems right. Better to have another Antonin Scalia on the court, who at least reasons well and respects precedent, than another Clarence Thomas, who is an activist in every sense of the word. Moral principles will change with the times, but coherent doctrine is forever.

Okay, strike that. Not another Scalia—he may be brilliant, but he's awfully nutty these days. Based on Rosen's list, a "principled" conservative like J. Harvey Wilkinson III or Michael McConnell would be fine. (On the understanding that Bush is simply not going to nominate a liberal or moderate judge.) But in the end I imagine we'll get a bunch of stealth candidates with short paper trails and a secret desire to yank the ol' Constitution out of Exile.
-- Brad Plumer 11:26 PM || ||