Issue #373

Bush’s revenge—appeals court goes on a rampage

When George W. Bush departed the White House, he left behind a giant deficit and expanded government spending for Medicare drug benefits that caused conservatives to grumble. But he did make a mark that right-wingers can cheer—by shaping the federal courts for years, perhaps decades. As Bush has retreated to painting, federal judges he placed on the bench have been implementing a conservative vision in some of the most contentious areas of federal law. The best example of this is a string of recent decisions on hot-button issues from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which the ABA Journal has dubbed “the nation’s most divisive, controversial and conservative appeals court.” The 5th Circuit handles appeals from federal courts in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, and it has become increasingly powerful as the Supreme Court has been hearing fewer and fewer cases. This month, the court—which has six George W. Bush appointees out of 15 judges—infuriated civil rights and pro-choice groups with two decisions overturning lower court rulings in Texas. Mother Jones, 10-22-14.

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