The first Monday in October -- the traditional start of a new Supreme Court term -- comes this year at a dismal political moment for President Bush. With his popularity shattered, his majority in Congress gone and his war in Iraq stalemated, the president can point to few victories in his second term. But Monday is a reminder of what may be his most enduring triumph: the transformation of the Supreme Court.
Bush has had only two appointments to the court -- the same as Presidents Clinton and George H.W. Bush. But the current president has made the most of his choices, naming two justices, John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr., very much in his own image -- unapologetically conservative and determined to change the status quo. Indeed, the Roberts court might just as well be known as the Bush court.
It took about a year for the new chief justice to get up to speed, but last year Roberts delivered major changes on the court. The replacement of the moderate Sandra Day O'Connor by Alito gave Roberts near-total control of the court; the two newcomers were invariably joined by Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and usually by Anthony Kennedy. Read full article »