The Supreme Court: Who Are They?!

In light of the recent Supreme Court manifestos that will forever change the American social fabric, I began to wonder if everyday Americans even knew who was on the Imperial Court. The Court remains, in my opinion, the most powerful body politic in America. Don’t think just because they wear robes that they aren’t active politicians with the same biases that exist on the Hill or in the Rainbow House!

So who are these Grand Robes of Power? This very question deserves a direct and concise response. The below Cliff Notes descriptions of each of the 9 jurists on the Supreme Court provides the aforementioned direct and concise response. This will include the political leanings of each Justice, so the next time a major court decision is being considered, the common reader will be able to effectively predict the likely outcomes before they even happen. The justices can be very predictable in how they vote, for better or worse.

I have created a descriptive scale which encompasses the wide range of personalities that exist on the Court. Each and everyone of them falls somewhere on this scale.

Our Scale (in order, top to bottom):

– Brilliant Constitutionalist and Greatest Jurist of this Generation
– Solid Conservative
– Conservative When Feels Like It
– Fence Sitting Moderate who Leans Left
– Constitutionally Uninformed Left Winger
– Psychopathic Far Left Activist

So here it goes!

John Roberts

Nominated by George W. Bush

Assumed Office: 2009

The Chief Justice had a long history of court decisions prior to his appointment to the court. He is a member of the Republican Party and is widely viewed as having a conservative approach to the Constitution. Roberts absolutely dropped the ball when he issued a decision in favor of ObamaCare as long as it comes in the form of a tax and not a mandate. It came as a shock to conservatives everywhere who viewed him as a Conservative Constitutionalist. He must have received a phone call in the middle of the night in J. Edgar Hoover fashion letting him know his skeletons will be revealed if he voted to repeal ObamaCare. There is absolutely no other explanation for this.

Conclusion: Conservative When Feels Like It

Anthony Kennedy

Nominated By Ronald Reagan

Assumed Office: 1988

Anthony Kennedy has set himself apart as the swing voter on the Court. In any decision that finishes with a 5-4 ruling its usually Kennedy who swings it one way or another. In the recent Gay Marriage vote, as always, this Liberal Moderate did what he does best…split the vote and always voting liberal in social policy decisions. He has routinely disappointed many conservatives who see his nomination to the bench by the great Ronald Reagan as one of the greater Faux Pas in the history of the Supremes. Dont ever count on him to vote conservative on issues that really matter.

Conclusion: Fence Sitting Moderate who Leans Left

Clarence Thomas

Nominated by George H.W. Bush

Assumed Office: 1991

Clarence Thomas is a brilliant jurist. He became only the second black member of the court, second only to Thurgood Marshall. Thomas is a consistent and constant Conservative voice on the Court. Thomas is a “textualist” interpreter of the Constitution, which means he avoids creating social policy out of whole cloth (like every single liberal on the court), but prefers to read and decide his cases according to the wording of the Constitution itself. For all intents and purposes, Thomas does precisely what a Justice is supposed to do…interpret law, not make it!

Conclusion: Solid Conservative

Stephen Breyer

Nominated by Bill Clinton

Assumed Office: 1994

Breyer was once quoted as saying (relative to how he interprets the Constitution) while some members of the Court emphasize, “…a more literal reading of the Constitution’s text, history and tradition” he prefers to zero in on “purpose and consequences.” Thus placing him squarely at odds with someone like Clarence Thomas. Breyer uses this philosophy to make laws, because as every good liberal knows, society progresses and so should our Constitution! He votes staunchly to the left in all social and fiscally liberal cases. He is a magnificent example of what a hippie looks like on the Court.

Conclusion: Constitutionally Uninformed Left Winger

Samuel Alito

Nominated by George W. Bush

Assumed Office: 2006

Samuel Alito has been described by the Cato institute as a conservative jurist with a libertarian streak. Better yet, the New York Times described him as “one the most conservative judges on the court”. Alito must be doing something right to receive such a wonderful compliment from the tragedy that is the New York Times! He has shown a slight tendency in the past to break with the solid conservative wing of the Court on certain issues, but on nearly all high-profile cases where the conservative bloc needs him most, he has always voted on the side of the Constitution and its textual intents.

Conclusion: Solid Conservative

Sonia Sotomayor

Nominated by: Barack Obama

Assumed Office: 2009

Sotomayor is the first justice of Latino heritage, which is great, except she has firmly entrenched herself squarely in the liberal bloc of the court. She has occasionally voted more middle of the ground, but shows no signs of being anything but a progressive and activist judge. One notable fact: once she appeared on Sesame Street.

Conclusion: Constitutionally Uninformed Left Winger

Elena Kagan

Nominated by: Barack Obama

Assumed Office: 2010

Ever heard of her? Ya, me neither. Kagan came to the bench with very little in terms of judicial experience (if any at all), but true to form (she was appointed by Obama), she has exercised all the free reign and unbridled liberalism expected in the new and modern progressive court.  One thing I love to point out is during her confirmation hearing for Solicitor General she exclaimed emphatically “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage!” Last week she voted in favor of the Court’s marriage decision. Moving along…

Conclusion: Constitutionally Uninformed Left Winger

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Nominated by: Bill Clinton

Assumed Office: 1993

What can be said about Ginsburg? Two things should sum it up just nicely. 1. She was appointed by Bill Clinton 2. She is a former member of the board of directors and former general council for the ACLU. Need more? She is a staunch supporter of abortion, even voting to strike down Nebraska’s partial birth abortion law and she also uses foreign legal precedence decisions to shape her own interpretations of the Constitution. You would have to search far and wide to find a more serial anti-Constitution judge in all of America…and she happens to be on the Supreme Court.

Conclusion: Psychopathic Far Left Activist

Antonin Scalia

Nominated by: Ronald Reagan

Assumed Office: 1986

The greatest jurist of the 20th and 21st centuries was appointed by the greatest American President since Abraham Lincoln. Antonin Scalia is famous for his witty and to-the-point opinions. Applying his strict interpretations of the Constitution and leading the Conservative charge on the court, Scalia has helped to keep the Court from slipping into maniacal madness of the progressive type over the past 3 decades. One of my favorite things about him are his minority opinions written to attack boorish and liberal decisions made outside the confines of his own originalist and textualist views of the Constitution. If you haven’t found your judicial hero yet, allow me to introduce you to Justice Antonin Scalia.

Conclusion:  Brilliant Constitutionalist and Greatest Jurist of this Generation

In wrapping up, I hope my brief description of those members of the highest court in the land will help the reader better understand not only the makeup of the court, but who they can trust and who they cant. Madison once wrote that the Supreme Court should be viewed as the weakest of the three branches of government. Unfortunately, just like the American Presidency, the Court has overstepped Madison on this and defined itself by its own rules for decades and beyond. Even with great jurists such as Alito, Thomas, and Scalia on the Court, we have found ourselves time and time again the subjects of progressive activism on the court that re-writes our Constitution continuously. Lets hope a conservative wins the White House in 2016 and we can find a way to shift the power balance back to sanity somehow.

Brett Nielsen is the current VP of Business Development for Skyrocket Media. Brett holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science from Utah Valley University and a Masters degree in International Relations from Kings College London. He is a former adjunct faculty of Political Science at Utah Valley University and served as the deputy to the National Finance Co-Chair during the Romney for President campaign in 2012.

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