When Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens began hinting he would
retire this year, the contours
of the coming Supreme Court melee
quickly became clear. Now that
Stevens has formally announced that he will retire this summer
, the battle
has begun. President Obama must select a replacement, who then faces
what will surely be a tough nomination battle in the Senate. Who will he
pick? How will the nominee do in the Senate? And, most importantly, how will
the replacement perform on the bench?
- Long Fight Could Kill Obama's
Legislative Agenda Congress Matters' David Waldman explains, "With time running
down for fin reg reform, immigration, etc., the better the odds for fast
confirmation, the better. Also, the longer the nomination fight, the less
time (and oxygen) there is for the Senate on any further legislation
this year. The younger your
nominee for SCOTUS, the longer the nomination fight / filibuster is
likely to last."
- GOP Will Fight, But Will
It Work? National Journal's Stuart Taylor writes, "Many Republicans are spoiling for a fight to rev
up their base for the coming elections. Some would depict any Obama
nominee as an ultra-liberal eager to
push the Court to the left." However, the floated nominee
possibilities are all less liberal than Stevens, meaning they will in
fact push the Court to the right. "It would
be hard for Senate Republicans to justify or sustain a filibuster
against any of these four, based on what's known about them."
a Politician The Washington Post's Ezra Klein suggests, "Post-citizens united,
I'd like to see a politician put on the Court. It doesn't need to be all
lawyers and judges."
- All Options Too Liberal,
Except Kagan The National Review's Daniel Foster surveys the
most commonly floated names, finding all but Solicitor General
Elena Hagan to be too far to the left. "The first-female
Solicitor General and probably first-runner-up for the Sotomayor seat,
Kagan has a record of the kind of cagey jurisprudence that is ideal for a
tough confirmation battle. ... My two
cents: It's Kagan or somebody nobody is even talking about."
Way Too Conservative Salon's Glenn Greenwald urges
against selecting Kagan, which he says would be "a harmful choice."
Selecting her "would shift the Court substantially to the Right on a
litany of key issues." He explores her "highly conservative" positions
on "executive power, civil liberties and Terrorism." He says that the
court's record of "placing at least some minimal constraints on
executive power" under Stevens would be reversed if Kagan joined.
Liberals Want The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne says they "very
much want Obama to name someone who will be as aggressive as Stevens has
been in standing up for their values. Obama’s political interests on
this are mixed: On the one hand, Democrats seem less excited about this
fall’s elections than Republicans, and a liberal pick would be a great
pick-me-up for party loyalists. But with so much else that Obama is
trying to get through Congress, he doesn’t want a Court fight to suck up
all of Washington’s political energy."
- What Conservatives
Want The Atlantic's Chris Good explains, "The present conservative movement
touts a very strict (in some cases, one could almost say fundamentalist)
interpretation of the Constitution, not just on matters like abortion,
but on states' rights. For tea partiers, especially, everything is about
the Constitution, and a return to stripped-down, conservative adherence
- Pick a Protestant! The Huffington Post's Katie Halper facetiously asks why the American religious majority is such a minority on the court. "If Obama doesn't replace Stevens, the ONLY Protestant on bench, w Protestant SCOTUS justice, I'm moving to Canada....I want a wise Protestant male." She later responds to a reader who disputes her assertion that Protestants are "more reasonable" and "marginalized" by telling him to "use your reason and critical thinking to analyze my tone."
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