People For the American Way Foundation

The Human Toll: How Individual Americans Have Fared at the Hands of Bush Judges

As President Bush nears the end of his second term with record low approval ratings, the American public has rendered a clear verdict: the policies of the Bush administration have largely failed at home and abroad. Yet by one important measure that pollsters and pundits often ignore, Bush has been an over-achiever: during his administration, 314 judges have been confirmed to lifetime appoints to the federal bench, including the two Bush nominees who now sit on the United States Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. The impact that President Bush has had on the federal courts may be his most enduring legacy, at least domestically. After leaders to come have figured out what to do about $4.00 gasoline, $4 trillion in debt, a battered economy and a war that has damaged our standing in the world, Bush’s judges will still be safely ensconced on the federal bench, and on the highest court in the land.

What has that meant for individual Americans? And what will that mean in the future?

People For the American Way Foundation has documented in a series of reports the damage that Bush nominated judges have done to the Constitution — and to Americans’ ability to seek and expect justice in the federal courts when challenging unlawful treatment by corporations, government agencies, and other powerful entities. This report looks at a selection of cases with an eye to the human cost of a federal judiciary dominated by an ideology that is all too willing to sacrifice individual rights and legal protections.