Giuliani’s Left-Leaning Judges

Rudy Giuliani’s judicial appointments while mayor of New York were mostly left-leaning Democrats who don’t love Jesus, reports Ben Smith for The Politico.

When Rudy Giuliani faces Republicans concerned about his support of gay rights and legal abortion, he reassures them that he is a conservative on the decisions that matter most. “I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am,” he told South Carolina Republicans last month. “Those are the kinds of justices I would appoint — Scalia, Alito and Roberts.”

But most of Giuliani’s judicial appointments during his eight years as mayor of New York were hardly in the model of Chief Justice John Roberts or Samuel Alito — much less aggressive conservatives in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

A Politico review of the 75 judges Giuliani appointed to three of New York state’s lower courts found that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 8 to 1. One of his appointments was an officer of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges. Another ruled that the state law banning liquor sales on Sundays was unconstitutional because it was insufficiently secular. A third, an abortion-rights supporter, later made it to the federal bench in part because New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a liberal Democrat, said he liked her ideology.

This might not play well in the Republican primaries. Then again, blue laws have been ruled unconstitutional time and again. And it’s not like state judges are making abortion law in the post-Roe world.

But here’s the key:

When Giuliani took office in 1994, he inherited a system of judicial appointments created by one of his predecessors, Ed Koch, and designed to insulate the courts from political influence. Under the system, the mayor appoints members of an independent panel. Aspiring judges apply to the panel, which recommends three candidates for each vacancy. The mayor chooses among the three.

So, it’s not as if he had free reign.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    Speaking of Giuliani, you gotta give Atrios credit when it’s due:

    Why Bill Clinton’s past infidelity is more relevant to his wife’s candidacy than Rudy Giuliani’s own infidelity is to his own candidacy is an exercise left to the reader.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Partly, Clinton has helped inoculate against that issue. Mostly, though, it’s because Giuliani wasn’t, so far as we know, doing it in the Oval Office and then lying about it under oath.

  3. Andy says:

    Given that the bible thumpers are absolutely obsessed with appointing right wing judges, I’d say this is a serious black mark against G. in the primary.

  4. Billy says:

    Mostly, though, it’s because Giuliani wasn’t, so far as we know, doing it in the Oval Office and then lying about it under oath.

    Oh come on. You’re telling us that if Clinton had ponied up the story would have gone away? That Republicans wouldn’t have been SHOCKED that such “high crimes and misdemeanors” had taken place IN THE WHITE HOUSE?

    Let’s have a -shred- of academic honesty here…

  5. James Joyner says:

    You’re telling us that if Clinton had ponied up the story would have gone away?

    No, but there wouldn’t have been an impeachment.

    Sam Donaldson thought Clinton would have to resign over the adultery scandal. Many were surprised at the public’s willingness to accept such conduct.

  6. Anderson says:

    Many were surprised at the public’s willingness to accept such conduct.

    “Many” were out of their minds. Last month I was rereading Joan Didion’s articles from the NYRB as collected in Political Fictions. She’s fascinated by the ability of the public, as opposed to the “liberal media,” to spot an obvious perjury trap and to shrug off Clinton’s philandering (never sure why it’s not “philgynering,” but YKWIM).