President Obama was elected on a promise of change, but in order for any of his legislative accomplishments to remain in place, they will need to survive court challenges.
Health care reform has passed. Major financial regulatory reform could be on the horizon. But these reforms will live or die in the federal courts. We immediately saw litigation from right-wing state attorneys general challenging the constitutionality of the health care bill. Will the fate of that bill and others be decided by George W. Bush-appointed judges? That looks increasingly likely if many of the lower federal court vacancies are not filled in a timely manner. Republican obstruction and threats of filibuster cannot be allowed to deter or delay the confirmation of much-needed judicial nominees.
Barry Friedman has an op-ed in today’s Politico that hammers home this point while providing some relevant examples:
Administrations frequently find their regulatory plans in judicial trouble. The Supreme Court gutted the Carter administration’s plans to regulate toxic benzene in the workplace. When the Bush administration’s Environmental Protection Agency refused to regulate greenhouse gases, claiming a lack of statutory authority, the justices disagreed. The Reagan administration suffered defeat on air bags, the Clinton administration on tobacco regulation.
Just last week, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled the Federal Communications Commission does not have the authority to require broadband providers to treat all customers equally regardless of the type of lawful content they’re sending and receiving — called "net neutrality."
Read Friedman’s full piece here: