Obama's cloud of BS (?) on the unimportance of judicial philosophy is troubling - what is he hiding? (As if we don't know.) Why does he want to pretend that most Supreme Court Justices agree most of the time?
SHADES OF GRAY: Matt Yglesias offers a superficially plausible rebuttal that collapses when pushed a bit:
This seems to totally miss the point. The reason Supreme Court decisions are rarely unanimous isn’t that cut-and-dry legal issues are rare. The reason is that the Supreme Court has absolute discretion over which cases to hear, and they disproportionately choose the “hard” cases. There are lots of cases where the Supremes could choose to offer a 9-0 affirmation of a Circuit Court decision, but that would be a waste of time.
Why limit this 'most of the issues are obvious' argument to Supreme Court Justices? In 2000 Ralph Nader insisted that Al Gore and George Bush were scuffling over the political center without offering a dime's worth of difference. And why limit ourselves to 2000? In the current election, both Presidential candidates agree on the need for a modestly revised Federal income tax, the need for troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the need for changes to our health care system, the need to address global warming, the need to expand alternative energy, offshore drilling and nuclear power, and so on. I would guess that McCain and Obama are in rough agreement on 99% of issues, if we define "issues" as broadly as Matt does in invoking every cut and dried case to enter the Federal courts.
No differences between Obama and McCain? Only if we look at the hard details of the hard issues. Sort of like with the Supreme Court.