Bill Murchison

Which brings to mind -- surprise, surprise -- the 2012 elections. It matters who gets to appoint our federal judges and justices. It matters profoundly. The only reason opponents of federal aggrandizement have any hope of relief from Obamacare is the presence on the high court of four, maybe five, depending on how you count justices of conservative bent, all appointed by Republican presidents.

The justices in question are Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito Jr. All will give the time of day, and generally much more than that, to lawyers advocating the principle of explicit or implicit limits to the exercise of federal power. The same five will listen with some earnestness to arguments that Congress can't pass just any old law weakening the already frail balance of powers upon which our liberties depend.

Barack Obama's two Supreme Court appointees -- Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan -- are smart people, but neither registers visible alarm over governmental hyperactivity. Maybe, as the ABA survey suggests, a "conservative" or two will defect, giving the administration a narrow victory. I hope not. In any case, those varied "conservatives," now walloping each other with baseball bats and bungstarters, might benefit from imagining the consequence of throwing the election by tearing the GOP apart.

How about four more years of judicial appointments by the president who thinks it's a great idea to make every American buy health insurance? It's far from the only reason to call off this ineffably stupid Republican family feud, but I suggest that few stronger reasons will come our way.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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