By M. Ulric Killion
Photo Source: Richard Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. John Gress/Reuters /Landov.
In a recent interview with NPR, the renowned conservative legal thinker Federal Judge Richard Posner, who is a 1981 President Ronald Reagan appointee to the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals, spoke candidly about the crisis of the new Republican Party and conservative thinking in America.
Judge Posner spoke of the modern Republican Party as a crisis arising from a “real deterioration in conservative thinking” that has moved him away from a Republican Party base, which he described as a “crowd of lunatics.”
For instance, when addressing the right-winger attacks against Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act, he said,
Because if you put [yourself] in his position ... what’s he supposed to think? That he finds his allies to be a bunch of crackpots? Does that help the conservative movement? I mean, what would you do if you were Roberts? All the sudden you find out that the people you thought were your friends have turned against you, they despise you, they mistreat you, they leak to the press. What do you do? Do you become more conservative? Or do you say, 'What am I doing with this crowd of lunatics?' Right? Maybe you have to re-examine your position.
According to a recent Slate article, Judge Posner also called out conservative Justice Antonin Scalia for his combative dissent in the recent Arizona immigration case, in which he specifically attacked President Barack Obama’s immigration policies. Posner wrote that it “wouldn’t surprise [him] if Justice Scalia’s opinion were quoted in campaign ads.”
All of this, according to his NPR interview, led Judge Posner to express exasperation with the modern Republican Party, while also confessing that he has become “less conservative” as a result.
For those unaware, Judge Posner is also a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, and has authored dozens of books on law and economics. In 2000, the Journal of Legal Studies identified him as the most-cited legal scholar of the 20th century.
Nina Totenberg, Federal Judge Richard Posner: The GOP Has Made Me Less Conservative, NPR, July 8, 2012.
Ashley Portero, Reagan-Appointed Judge Richard Posner Calls ‘Goofy’ Republicans A ‘Crowd of Lunatics’, International Business Times, July 6, 2012.
Richard A. Posner, Supreme Court Year in Review, Slate, June 27, 2012.
See also The Republican Conundrum
All Rights Reserved by M. Ulric Killion, 2012.