DailyKos on the War for the Courts

The Making of the Corporate Judiciary: How big business is quietly funding a judicial revolution in the nation’s courts,” by Michael Scherer, Mother Jones, November/December 2003, http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2003/11/ma_564_01.html (from Daily Kos).

Mike at dKos linkes to an old Mother Jones story on judges. It’s over-the-top, but it understores the structural change the Republicans are going for

Years of delaying President Clinton’s nominees to these same courts left the Bush administration, and the business community, with a golden opportunity: All but two of the nation’s 13 federal circuits — evenly divided between Democratic and Republican appointees under Clinton — could have Republican majorities by the next election. “With this four-year crop, it’s really going to be a different judiciary than it is now,” says Eldie Acheson, who led judge selection for Clinton’s Justice Department.

The stated goal of many of these business groups is not a modest one: to chip away at more than 60 years of legal history, dismantle federal social services, and effectively erase the policies of the Franklin Roosevelt era. “We’ve been living since the New Deal with an essentially unconstitutional government,” says Roger Pilon, director of the Center for Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute. The new generation of young conservative and libertarian lawyers being elevated to federal courts, he adds, “are not afraid to say that.”

Why are the circuit courts important? Because it is where almost all rulings are made.

Big money, however, cares a great deal about who sits on the nation’s 13 federal circuit courts. “There is the hope on the part of the business community that their rulings will be more friendly,” says Paul DeCamp, a Republican corporate lawyer who counts two nominees as personal friends. “The Supreme Court can’t decide every case.” In fact, circuit courts are the final venue for 99 percent of federal cases and most regulatory challenges.

The filibuster fight is actually a fight for the future of the courts. The Democrats are losing. They know it.

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