Another of Bush’s positive accomplishments was adding two respected conservative justices to the Supreme Court. John Roberts replaced William Rehnquist as Chief Justice after Rehnquist’s death. Joseph Alito took over for retired justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Both Roberts and Alito are considered to be original intent jurists, seeking to find the reasons the founders included certain provisions in the Constitution. They do not believe that judges should make law. In this, Roberts mirrors Rehnquist; Alito is more concerned about original intent than O’Connor was, making his appointment an improvement in the Court.
The problem, of course, is that none of the avowedly liberal justices stepped down during Bush’s term. They were obviously waiting for a Democrat president who would replace them with another liberal. That’s exactly what Obama will do. It doesn’t take a prophetic gift to predict that.
So Bush made the Court slightly better during his time in office. This is crucial for decisions dealing with abortion, same-sex marriage, and other social issues in particular. But it could also be beneficial for any cases that may arise over massive bailout laws or other economic decisions to be made by the new administration. The situation on the Supreme Court, therefore, is a definite plus for Bush.
My next few postings will cover the negatives, from my perspective.