Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Battle of the Conservatives for the Supreme Court

While liberal commentators have generally looking at the Supreme Court vacancy as a case of Bush likely replacing a moderate with a conservative, to conservatives the issue is which faction of conservativism gets the seat. Sandra Day O'Connor wasn't as conservative on social issues as the religious right wanted, but she did preserve other views of the Reagan Administration which appointed her.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the different views of the religious right versus pro-business economic conservatives, such as "social conservatives might support a federal law saying 'any hospital that is connected to interstate commerce cannot remove a feeding tube.' Conservative intellectuals likely would view such a statute as exceeding Congress's power over interstate commerce."

The Wall Street Journal further describes this division between conservative factions:

[Sandra Day O'Connor]

Evangelical Christians are the most vocal. They considered Justice O'Connor -- a Reagan appointee who announced her retirement Friday -- to have been a disaster for their cause. She was the court's pivotal swing vote on issues such as upholding certain abortion rights and, just last week, limiting public displays of the Ten Commandments.

"On almost every issue, she has been against us," says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, one of the leading religious activist groups in the court fight. One of his primary goals: a new justice very different from Justice O'Connor.

For the business community, however, the departure of Justice O'Connor, 75 years old, is the loss of an ally who took a skeptical view of big jury awards, claims allowed under the Americans With Disabilities Act and employment and government-contract quotas. "We felt she was a very business-friendly person because of her very practical approach," says Stan Anderson, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "We are clearly going to miss her, and we hope a candidate of the same kind of stature, philosophy and discipline is nominated to replace her."


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