Federal Court Veers Further to the Left

The moderately conservative Judge Thomas Meskill has died, eliminating one of the few non-liberal judges on the New York-based Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

This is a court still dominated by liberal Clinton appointees. And even some of the Bush appointees on the court are not moderate or conservative, but rather very liberal (like Barrington Parker, who believes that the Constitution provides elaborate protections for foreign terrorists, and who ruled that companies can be penalized by bureaucrats based on unproven accusations of environmental wrongdoing) or RINOs (like Peter Hall, an ideological heir of the party-switching Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords). Many of the Bush appointees were selected to appease liberal lawmakers in the region like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. That may have an effect on terrorism-related cases and global-warming nuisance suits, since it cements the liberal judges’ en banc majority on the Second Circuit. In much of the country, Bush’s judicial appointments have been far less liberal than Clinton’s judges were, but in the Second Circuit, the difference is fairly small.

I earlier discussed Judge Meskill’s evenhanded approach to racial and sexual harassment law.