NBC's Pete Williams: Democrat 'More Likely to Appoint' 'Less Ideological' Judge - 'Somebody Near the Middle'

July 1st, 2012 3:00 PM

Readers are advised to remove all food, fluids, and flammables from proximity to their computers before proceeding. You've been warned.

NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams on this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show actually said that when it comes to nominating judges, "A Democratic president is more likely to appoint somebody near the middle who is less ideological" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Which of the two presidents, presidential candidates, the President or Governor Romney, would be more likely to pick centrist judges, ones that could get a good supermajority in the Senate?

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, saying that centrist is a loaded term, it's usually a Democratic president is more likely to appoint somebody near the middle who is less ideological.


KATTY KAY, BBC: Well, if you look at Obama's record, he’s put, appointed Elena Kagan who is liberal and Sotomayor who isn’t particularly liberal. So that would lead you to think that he's more of a centrist when it comes to appointing judges.

JOAN BISKUPIC, REUTERS SUPREME COURT CORRESPONDENT: Ditto with Bill Clinton. He put on Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Assuming you took my advice and still have a functioning computer, can you imagine the idiocy and/or bias necessary to make the statements made by Biskupic, Kay, and Williams?

Sonia Sotomayor "isn't particularly liberal?" Based on what?

As for Breyer and Ginsburg, they're two of the most predictably liberal members of the Court - have been for years.

By contrast, Anthony Kennedy, who is considered by far the most moderate and the current swing vote on the Court, was nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1988.

The recently retired (2006) previous moderate swing-voter Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed by Reagan in 1981.

David Souter (retired in 2009), considered by most conservatives as one of the worst justices ever appointed by a Republican president, was nominated by George H.W. Bush in 1990.

Potentially the second worst nomination by a Republican was John Paul Stevens (retired 2010) who was appointed by Gerald Ford in 1975.

As such, in the last 37 years, there have been four justices appointed by Republicans that have turned out to be moderate or liberal.

By contrast, all of the justices appointed by Democrats during the same period have been liberal thereby making Biskupic, Kay, and Williams 100 percent wrong on this matter.

How pathetic.