Christie Thinks He Can Control Future Supreme Court Decisions

Chris Christie went on Fox News Sunday and claimed that if he were president and had appointed justices to the Supreme Court, it would not have upheld federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act or overturned state laws banning same-sex marriage.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said on Sunday Supreme Court justices of his liking would not have legalized same-sex marriage and would have struck down a key provision of a national health care law.

The two landmark rulings last month angered many conservative Americans and several Republican presidential candidates have condemned the decisions.

Christie, who announced last week he was joining the Republican field in the 2016 presidential election, said the Supreme Court’s justices were not conservative enough, and cited his record nominating state judges who oppose “meddling in the business of the executive and legislative branch.”

“If the Christie-type justices had been on that court in the majority, we would have won those cases in the Supreme Court rather than lost them,” he told “Fox News Sunday” in an interview.

Now that’s just funny. If he’d been nominating justices in 2005 to replace Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice O’Connor, John Roberts would have been right at the top of his list too. Roberts was viewed as a dogmatic conservative who would never, ever sell out conservative principles. In fact, he was one of the first people whose job it was to identify conservatives who would remain conservative once on the bench so they could be appointed to federal judgeships, part of an effort to avoid justices who slide to the left once on the bench, like O’Connor, Souter, Blackmun and Stevens.

But a funny thing happens when a judge gets lifetime tenure on the Supreme Court. They are no longer bound to apply higher court rulings faithfully. They can’t be overturned by a higher court. And they no longer have to worry about getting on the lists of potential nominees put out by the Federalist Society, lists from which Republican presidents choose their nominees. The lifetime tenure and insulation from political pressure means they can actually follow their conscience. That doesn’t mean they will, but it means they can, in a way they could not do previously.

No president can control that. It doesn’t matter how many questions you ask or how you ask them, you can’t be certain that they’re going to vote the way you want them to every time. Once you place them on the bench, you have no control over what they’re going to do.

""Cognitive Dissonance?! You can't handle the Cognitive Dissonance!!""

AL Cop: We Were Told to ..."
"Sorry, Idiot has some minimal qualification, which Wrinklie here doesn't seem to meet..."

Catholic School to Punish Students for ..."
"Ahhhh, the ole Befehl is Befehl argument.Same ole medieval mindset, same ole medieval results.Don't let ..."

Catholic School to Punish Students for ..."
"Too much chance of a resonant cavity causing an explosion, ruining equipment that is FAR ..."

Palin’s Pointless Appeal

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Mr Ed

    I’ve been of the opinion that the best justices are the ones that disappoint the president who nominated them from time to time. Its a small sign that they are thinking about the law and not making A priori political arguments (*cough Scalia).

  • Larry

    What’s he gonna do? Block a bridge so they can’t get to work?

  • colnago80

    Rather interesting that one of Christie’s opponents, Scott Walker, came out ripping and snorting after the decision, calling it a grave mistake and proposing a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the decision. Then, it came out that his sons not only favored same sex marriage but that one of them was best man at a marriage between 2 lesbians. One of the lesbians is a cousin of Walker’s wife. Suddenly, Walker softens his stand the very next day. What a backslider.

  • Chiroptera

    The only way to be sure of the nominated justice’s future decisions on the court is to make sure that you nominate hard-core true believers in the cause; in other words, Christie is pretty much admitting that as President he intends to nominate political hacks to the bench.

  • Modusoperandi

    That’s it?

    As your Republican President, I’d abolish the Supreme Court entirely, devolving its so-called “duties” and so-called “responsibilities” to the states. Except for the North-Eastern and coastal states, who are known to harbor unAmerican attitudes about the Constitution, Liberty and America. Those states I’d abolish and transfer to Mississippi, Texas and Alabama.

  • thebookofdave

    I think Christie figured out how to recall Tea Party Reagan (not the historical figure) for a Supreme Court appointment. Either that, or he will reanimate the corpse of Robert Bork.

  • John Pieret

    Once you place them on the bench, you have no control over what they’re going to do.

    Which was the idea of appointing them for life in the first place.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    The lifetime tenure and insulation from political pressure means they can actually follow their conscience.

    And in the most recent high-profile cases, Burwell and Obergefell, John Roberts followed his “conscience” and voted in exactly the way that let the Republicans have their cake and eat it too. Now they can safely rant and rail to please the hardcore homo/Obama-phobe primary voters without any risk of policy changes that would severely antagonize the general electorate.

    Bush and Rove didn’t want an ideologue, they wanted a loyal partisan hack – and they got one.

  • busterggi

    Of course President Christie could control the judge’s decisions – “Nice family you got there judge, shame if something happened to them.”

  • garnetstar

    Roberts still is a conservative. His lifetime tenure, however, has liberated him to sometimes use his reason, which is what the right, and Scalia, are upset at him for.

    However, Scalia and the court’s right wing are vigorously pushing Roberts towards perhaps even using his conscience: if reasoning makes them so angry and gets him called so many names, might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

  • lorn

    Christie always struck me as a crybaby and prone to throwing fits if he doesn’t get his way. A big guy I imagine that his hissy fits are quite an event. Most people will give in, and so the behavior is reinforced. Used to gain power, and this power used to throw ever more impressive temper tantrums, the guy had a bridge partially blocked off as revenge for a lack of political support, I’ll sell that bridge to anyone thinking he wasn’t calling the shots, seems to be his method of operation. Given a history of this sort of capitulation to get him to STHU I figure he thinks he can always have his way.

    It would seem entirely natural for him to assume that he can get his way with judges on the supreme court.

    He might be right. At a distance of over a thousand miles, and over the airwaves, I feel compelled to turn off the TV when he comes on. Imagine the dread of his loathsome presence lumbering into your office several times a week.

  • whheydt

    Ed missed one of the really great examples: Earl Warren. Eisenhower later said that he regretted nominating Warren. (For context, Earl Warren was AG of California during WW2 and he was the architect of the Japanese internment. I once worked with a Japanese American who had been interned as a child and he was surprised that someone of European descent knew about Warren being the active mover behind the internment.)

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    The lifetime tenure and insulation from political pressure means they can actually follow their conscience.

    The solution for conservatives will be to identify and nominate judges like Scalia who have no conscience.

  • StevoR

    Worse than Christie claiming he can control Supreme Court rulings is that he apparently thinks he -or indeed anyone in the executive branch – should be able to do so.

  • StevoR

    Whats Christie gunna do? Stop the traffic and make them take like forever to get home on their daily commutes if they don’t so as he says?

  • StevoR

    As er.. Larry #2 has already said more succintly. D’oh!