The “deeply polarized confirmation process in the Senate” has “undercut Obama's effort to significantly infuse the federal courts with more women and minorities,” USA Today's Joan Biskupic fretted in a Wednesday front page article in which she refused to identify Obama's nominees as liberals as she attached the positive “diversity” patina to Obama's agenda without any regard for the irony such “diversity” is ideologically uniform.
She led her June 16 story, “Push for court diversity hits snag: Partisan rancor ties up action on Obama nominees,” however, by noting the ideology supposedly pushed by President George W. Bush: “President Obama came into office determined to stop the rightward shift of the federal courts -- after eight years of appointments by President Bush -- and to add more diversity to the bench.” She then outlined Obama's achievement:
So far he is setting records for the number of women and minorities nominated to lifetime appointments. Nearly half of the 73 candidates he has tapped for the bench have been women. In all, 25% have been African Americans, 10% Hispanics and 11% Asian Americans.
Biskupic, a regular on PBS's Washington Week who left the Washington Post for USA Today ten years ago, contented “President Reagan and the first President Bush used their second Supreme Court nominations to make bold choices that strongly advanced their ideological interests” with Reagan picking “conservative jurist [Antonin] Scalia” while George H.W, Bush, after selecting “a moderate appeals court judge, David Souter,” settled on Clarence Thomas, “now one of the court's most conservative justices.”
In contrast, “when President Clinton got his second court vacancy, he opted for the pragmatic liberal Stephen Breyer rather than a real firebrand.” Repeating her point, with Clinton she saw more nuance than with the GOP Presidents: “His first pick was pragmatic liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 1993. His second pick Breyer, in 1994, was in the same mode.”
Over the weekend, on his syndicated "The Chris Matthews Show," Chris Matthews asked his media panel if Barack Obama was governing as "more clearly a radical like FDR was, or more like a true conservative?" The latter part of the question -- the rather absurd proposition of Obama being a conservative -- actually drew a couple of affirmatives from the panel.
The USA Today's Joan Biskupic responded she thought the President was being more conservative, at least in his judicial nods, "If you look at what he's doing, not just with his Supreme Court choice but his appeals court choices. None of them have really caused a big problem. You probably couldn't name one of those appellate judges off the top of your head. They're sort of middle-of-the-road folks. Not taking a page from Ronald Reagan in terms of seeking lightning rods."
USA Today Supreme Court Reporter Joan Biskupic penned an article today titled "O'Connor's legacy fading on reshaped court." For this particular title, "reshaped" is code for "conservative." Biskupic's article laments several recent conservative decisions of the court, and she frames these decisions as a blow to the legacy of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Biskupic literally builds up O'Connor as a national hero.
When retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor visited Capitol Hill recently to speak publicly about her husband's Alzheimer's, she was greeted as a national hero. Senators lauded her historic place as the first woman on the Supreme Court and the justice whose opinions often set the nation's law.
O'Connor, who was frequently the tie-breaking vote in close cases, is further praised for her "middle-ground" practical approach in her decision making. But things have changed since O'Connor's retirement from the high court.