I’ve never voted for a Democrat or Republican for president at a general election. I’ve always voted for a Libertarian (in 2008 I voted for George Phillies, who was on the ballot as a Libertarian in New Hampshire in addition to the official candidate, Bob Barr), and I’ve never had reason to regret my vote. Throughout my adult life (I first voted in 1996), every U.S. president has been worse than the one before, and the major-party candidates they defeated would almost certainly have been just as bad.
One common argument I hear from Republicans is that libertarians should vote for Republican presidential candidates because of the Supreme Court. And indeed, libertarians generally share conservatives’ enthusiasm for the prospect of the Supreme Court’s overturning at least part of the PPACA. However, the recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision authorizing invasive strip searches of all arrestees shows us the other side of the coin: the Supreme Court’s conservatives are disturbingly willing to defer to the executive branch on issues of non-economic personal liberties. Most of the politically controversial cases with which the federal judiciary deals have to do with civil liberties and civil rights. Major Commerce Clause cases come around only once every few years — and even there, Scalia and Kennedy are unreliable.
How will the current Court address issues like indefinite detention, the drone assassination program, and what Naomi Wolf calls “sexual humiliation as a political tool” — from the TSA’s groping and Rapiscan machines (can you believe that name? I always pronounce it with a long “a.” Sometimes I wonder if we’re living in an episode of the Simpsons.) to strip searches and prisoner abuse? How would an even more conservative court, with, say, a Ginsburg replaced by a Romney appointee, address those issues? A more conservative court might trim back the Commerce Clause just a wee bit, but it would definitely help law enforcement abuse my friends. So no, Mittens, you’re not getting my vote under any circumstances.