The Supreme Court’s lurch to the right following the addition of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito is beginning to catch up with Republicans running for re-election. As Carrie Budoff reports in the Politico today: “Two 50-something men who wear black robes, rarely speak in public and remain unrecognizable to most Americans are turning up in campaign playbooks from Oregon to Maine.”
For years, Republican senators like Susan Collins of Maine and Gordon Smith of Oregon have paid lip service to moderation and independence while providing crucial votes to advance President Bush’s agenda and right-wing judicial nominees. Now that voters are seeing the consequences, those votes are coming back to haunt them.
Collins, Smith, and vulnerable GOP senators in New Hampshire, New Mexico, Minnesota and elsewhere will soon wish they had bucked Bush more often. Each has to answer to a moderate electorate that simply doesn’t support the agenda of the right-wing Supreme Court justices of recklessly expanding executive power, undoing protections for workers and the environment, undermining civil liberties and privacy rights, and encouraging the mixing of church and state.
Collins, for instance, likes to portray herself as a moderate and an advocate for women. But she voted for Roberts and Alito, and she bears some responsibility for this: