Down by Law


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Christian right’s campaign against activist judges is definitely having its effect on the judiciary. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who last week was attacked—some might say threatened—by speeches at a conference against liberal judges, asked Congress for more guards around the court building. Newsweek reports that Sandra Day O’Connor had already been concerned enough a few months ago about tension between the court and Congress that she invited some House Republicans to lunch to smooth things over. “It was just the two branches of government reaching out, trying to keep the lines of communication open,” explained Ohio Republican congressman Steve Chabot, who had been especially critical of the judiciary.

But why? The Los Angeles Times reports that 94 of 162 active judges now on the federal courts of appeals were picked by Republican presidents. Conservatives have a clear majority on 10 of 13 circuit courts. Since 1976, seven of nine seats on the Supreme Court have been held by conservatives, according to the paper’s analysis.