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William H. Rehnquist. Before being appointed by President Nixon, he was active in Republican politics. One of two appointees in 1971, the other belonging to Lewis F. Powell. Rehnquist is a member of the conservative bloc, and also replaced a conservative, John M. Harlan, who nonetheless often sided with the liberal majority on civil rights cases.
John Paul Stevens. Originally seen as a moderate, independent justice when appointed by President Ford, he has come to be seen as a very liberal justice in more recent years. Although, this perception may be accentuated by the fact that many of his colleagues were replaced by much more conservative Justices. Stevens is not one for forging consensus and often authors his own opinions. Liberal groups that were originally opposed to his appointment have since become his biggest supporters. Justice Stevens replaced William O. Douglas, a much more activist Justice with a strong human rights interest.
Sandra Day O'Connor. Appointed by Reagan, she was a Republican State Senator for Arizona earlier in her career. While not activist, she is not a member of the conservative bloc either. With some conservative tendencies aside from sexual discrimination cases, she is often a swing vote. She replaced another centrist, Potter Stewart, who nonetheless would probably have been seen as a liberal on today's court.
Antonin Scalia. Appointed by Reagan, he filled the opening left by Warren E. Burger when Rehnquist replaced the retiring Burger as Chief Justice. Scalia is outspokenly conservative, a strict constructionist, defers to states rights, and refuses to judge whether a law is an unwise or bad law - only whether it is constitutional. His legal reasoning has been criticized as inconsistent when consistency would lead to an opinion misaligned with the political right. His predecessor Burger was a centrist and not a member of the conservative bloc.
Anthony McLeod Kennedy. Appointed by Reagan after the unsuccessful nominations of Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg. Originally seen as conservative, he has come to be seen as a centrist, and as seen as part of the "centrist bloc", similar to O'Connor. However, his style is significantly more conservative than previous Court generations. He replaced another then-centrist, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., who was appointed the same year as Rehnquist (1971), replacing Hugo L. Black, who was a very liberal/activist Justice.
David Hacket Souter. His appointment by President Bush was intended to strengthen the conservative bloc. However, he ended up being a key swing vote, aligned with the centrist bloc of O'Connor and Kennedy. His appointment is seen as a miscalculation by President Bush, and his tendencies are to not undo the precedents set by the liberal courts before him. He replaced William Brennan, who was seen as a liberal.
Clarence Thomas. His appointment by President Bush led to what is probably the widest ideological swing from one appointment in recent history. Active in Republican politics earlier in his career, including an effort to mute federal affirmative action guidelines, he replaced Thurgood Marshall, a liberal activist black justice who was extremely active in civil rights. Thomas has become part of the court's conservative bloc with Scalia and Rehnquist. The confirmation vote was extremely close due to allegations he sexually harrassed a coworker, and the controvery surrounding the 98% male Senate voting on sexual harrassment led to a strong movement of women congressional candidates in later years.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Appointed by President Clinton, her career was forged mostly on several important sex discriminations cases that she argued before the Supreme Court. Seen as a liberal, she nonetheless expresses some conservative views and aligns herself with the belief that the Court should not overturn bad laws; only unconstitutional laws. She succeeded Byron Raymond White, who was a pro-civil-rights Justice but conservative otherwise. Ginsburg's appointment is seen as a moderate shift to the left overall.
Stephen Breyer. Appointed by President Clinton, he replaced Harry Blackmun, who was originally seen as conservative but came to be seen as one of the most activist libertarian Justices after the abortion cases of 1973. Breyer is a financial and antitrust expert and is seen as an "intellectual counterweight" to Scalia. While supported strongly by Democrats, his was not a controversial appointment.
Nixon(R) had three appointees with a four-year term, one of which is still active.
Ford(R) has one appointee in four years.
Carter(D) had zero appointees in four years.
Regan(R) had three appointees in eight years.
Bush(R) had two appointees in four years.
Clinton(D) had two appointees in eight years.
-------------------- America's debt problem is a "sign of leadership failure"
We have "reckless fiscal policies"
America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.
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