Even Roberts’s fellow justices know there is a difference. If there were no Obama judges or Trump judges, then why did Anthony Kennedy wait for Trump’s election to announce his retirement? And why doesn’t Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just retire now and let Trump nominate her replacement? Because they both want a president who would appoint a successor who shares their judicial philosophy. (And, lo and behold, Trump appointed a former Kennedy clerk, Brett Kavanaugh, to succeed him).
The American people know that Roberts is wrong. In the 2016 election, exit polls showed that 70 percent of voters said Supreme Court appointments were either the most important or an important factor in deciding their vote. And polls show that Republicans expanded their Senate majority in 2018 in large part because conservative voters were angered over the left’s brutal campaign of character assassination against Kavanaugh.
Roberts is correct that we should not have “Trump judges” or “Obama judges.” It would be better for the country if every judge, regardless of which president nominated him or her, strictly interpreted our laws and the Constitution. But the reality is that not all do. While conservative presidents tend to nominate judges who exercise a philosophy of judicial restraint — follow our laws as written — liberal presidents tend to nominate judicial activists who legislate from the bench and shape the law to reach their preferred outcomes. The left believes in a “living Constitution,” which can be interpreted to mean whatever they want it to mean without being formally amended.