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Opinion | Playing the Long Game for the Supreme Court - The New York Times
By Linda Greenhouse
Contributing Opinion Writer

Oct. 25, 2018

Consider two news items from last week that serve to illuminate the current reality. One was the revelation that the Heritage Foundation, a deeply conservative policy shop in Washington that has partnered with the Federalist Society in providing President Trump with judicial nominees, was running a secretive training academy for ideologically vetted judicial law clerks. The foundation suspended the program after the report.

The other was the confirmation hearing the Republicans of the Senate Judiciary Committee held (the Democratic senators boycotted it) for Allison Jones Rushing, the president’s nominee for a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Ms. Rushing’s conservative credentials are impeccable, including ties to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious-right litigating organization. Ms. Rushing clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and for Neil Gorsuch when he was a federal appeals court judge; those clerkships evidently accounted for the “incredible wealth of judicial experience” praised by one of her Judiciary Committee supporters, Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina. She graduated from law school 11 years ago. She is 36 years old.

How do those two developments relate to each other and to the legacy of the Bork battle? Following Judge Bork’s defeat, conservatives didn’t waste time licking their wounds. They got busy building the infrastructure necessary to accomplish their thwarted goals. The Federalist Society had been founded five years earlier by a handful of law students; Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia, then a law professor, both spoke at its first symposium.

The organization offered the perfect vehicle for cultivating a new generation of young conservative lawyers to enter the pipeline, serving as law clerks by the side of growing numbers of conservative judges and — like Justice Gorsuch and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, both former Supreme Court law clerks — becoming judges themselves.
conservatism  GOP  law  political_infrastructure  Robert_Bork  U.S._Supreme_Court  talent_pipelines  long-term 
october 2018 by jerryking
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