The hand that rocks the voting booths rules the courts

As DC Dicta has noted, President George W. Bush is very proud of the federal judges he’s appointed over the last eight years, and hopes those jurists help to shape his legacy.

Right now, conservative justices hold a majority in 10 of the 13 federal circuits, “while judges appointed by Democrats have a dwindling majority on just one circuit,” notes a piece in today’s New York Times.

What’s more, even though Bush appointed 61 judges to President Bill Clinton’s 65, Bush’s nominees are so young that they will affect the shape of the judiciary for many years to come. Even the nation’s Chief Justice was the youngest appointed in more than 200 years.

So what does all that mean for the election? It raises a new stake: A McCain victory will give that administration a chance to shore up conservative control of federal courts, even ensuring a majority in all 13 circuits. An Obama win would allow Democrats to try to roll back the GOP advantage in the courts. Obama could could even appoint enough judges to regain a majority by the end of his first term, the story says.

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