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President Bush’s Judicial Nominations

The presidential judicial nominations made by President Bush earned him a long-lasting legacy in American law history. The appointments were said to have far-reaching effects on individual rights over a long period of time, preferring conservatists. President George Bush’s judicial appointments during his tenure in office brought about mixed reactions from different parties. The democrats in particular thought that the appointments were done without consideration of professionalism.

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Liberal academics had predicted this possibility. They speculated that he would reorganize the judiciary and nominate conservative jurists. Most critics saw these judicial appointments as extreme-conservatives who would become antagonistic to the needs of the minorities, women, and thought that they affected or interfered with personal privacy. President Bush’s supporters emphasized that the appointments were majorly based on ideology and were not based on political interests.

However, the research carried out by scholars in the American University of Oregon shows that President Bush’s appointment of non-traditional judges was influenced by ideology and policy and not diversity. That is not to suggest that he undermined diversity but that he put more emphasis on the earlier two. The number of men nominated was more than that of women and the minorities less than the Caucasians.

While most presidents have been involved in the support of African Americans’ fight for equal rights through appointments into government institutions (Michael, 2010), research shows that during his tenure, African Americans were less privileged in getting positions in the appointments. The presidential judicial appointments made by Bush hinted that he was trying to emulate Reagan, whose conservative mark on the bench has had an effect for a long time.

President Bush left a permanent mark on the United States court system. As a result, businesses will thrive and continue to do well but the American citizen will suffer silently. This comes as a result of giving lifetime appointments to judges and thus leaving the citizens at their mercy. Judges would not have to worry over their appointments since it is cemented and thus could be swayed by ‘gifts‘ from big businessmen to rule in their favor at the expense of individual rights. Conservatives argued that Bush’s appointments are rightly more reserved on social policy predicaments.

This means that having conservatists as judges would help to uphold good social policies and responsibilities especially regarding the environment, health, schools, prisons, maters regarding abortion, gay marriages, etc. this will help in upholding the values of the American people moreover in the long run( Greenstein,2003).

Bush was aiming at taking the role of legislators in social policy issues and giving it to conservative judges some of whom had lifetime appointments and thus their influence was going to be felt for longer. His appointments narrowly took individual rights and retreated legislators from involvement in local problems such as school desegregation, prison crowding and the environment leaving them to the judges.

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It is evident that the appointments are based on conservative ideology rather than “affirmative action” (Robert et al, 2004).Another factor that President Bush wanted to achieve with his appointments is the proficiency in overcoming political obstacles. One such stumbling block is the U.S. Senate. If the Senate is controlled by the president’s party, the White House will find it much easier to secure confirmation. Sometimes when the opposition is in power in the Senate, presidents are forced into a sort of political horse-trading to get their nominees approved which he wanted to avoid or minimise (Robert et al, 2004).


Greenstein, F. (2003). The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment.USA: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Michael, A. G. (2010). Encyclopaedia of the American Presidency.USA: InfoBase Publishing.

Robert et al (2004). Judicial process in America, 6th ed, Ch. 7. Washington, D.C: CQ Press.

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