With the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens
before the end of Obama's first term, Republicans are already fixing for
a fight. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, warned
the President not to appoint any
"overly ideological" candidates to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Bloomberg
has caught wind of three
potential replacements: U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal
appellate court judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland. Will Republicans
filibuster any of these? Here's what pundits are saying:
Strong, Obama, encourages Jeralyn at Talk Left: "Republicans are trying to
influence the decision already, promising 'bruising battles' and saying
Garland is his best bet. Why does Obama have to play it safe? He's
already got his 'signature issue' -- the health care vote -- behind him.
He really has an opportunity here to effect some change, one that could
last decades. I hope he doesn't throw it away."
a Fight, writes Glynis MacNicol at Mediaite:
[Republican Senator Jon Kyl] expressed his hope that Obama doesn't
nominate an 'overly ideological person' saying that as long as he
doesn't do this Kyl doesn't envision Republicans engaging in a
filibuster. So! Only hurdle now is getting both sides of the aisle to
agree on what constitutes an 'overly ideological person.' Piece of
- It Only Makes Sense for GOP to
Filibuster, writes No More Mister Nice Blog.
Voters might even support Republican obstructionism: "The broad public
has no idea now that there's an excessive number of filibusters now. The
broad public will have no idea that it's an act of extremism if
Republicans filibuster three, four, five Obama Supreme Court nominees in
a row. I don't see anything in the polls right now that suggests the
public will rally to Obama's defense if Republicans control the terms of
debate and declare one nominee after another to be a dangerous lefty
who's beyond the pale. I'll be shocked if there's no filibuster."
Controversial Is Wood, writes James Richardson at Red State:
"Judge Wood's long and storied record on the issue of reproductive
rights promises to serve as a lightening rod for Senate Republicans.
Most noxious to social conservatives... is Wood's ruling that abortion
lobbying group Planned Parenthood could use the "RICO" anti-mob law to
sue pro-life protesters."
- Conservatives Could
Accept Garland, writes Ed Whelan at National Review: "Judge
Garland has earned the respect of folks across the political spectrum
for his judicial craftsmanship in his 13 years on the D.C. Circuit.
Unlike Kagan, he may well be the best that conservatives could
reasonably hope for from a Democratic president. While he's certainly
no judicial conservative, he would seem to represent... the
'once-dominant species of liberal proponents of judicial restraint.'"
Do GOP Appointees Always Retire Under Democratic President? muses James Joyner at Outside the Beltway:
"It has been common practice in recent years for Justices to do their
best to time their departures according to which party controls the
White House... What's interesting is how many recent retirements of
Justices appointed by Republican presidents have come during Democratic
administrations. The most recent retiree, David Souter, was nominated
by George H.W. Bush in 1990 but chose to wait out George H.W. Bush and
retire in the first months of the Obama presidency. Stevens was
appointed by Gerald Ford. Lewis Powell, a Nixon appointee, retired
during Bill Clinton's presidency. Ditto Harry Blackmun. It's been a
long time since a Justice appointed by a Democrat voluntarily (i.e., for
reasons other than rapidly declining health) during a Republican
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