President Obama better break out his nine-dimensional chess board: the
daunting task of selecting a new Supreme Court justice to replace John
will require some incredibly complex political
. With Democrats wary of their
troubling poll numbers, Republicans eager to ride populist anger against
Obama even if it means all-out obstructionism, and both parties looking
ahead to the November 2010 elections, everyone has an angle to play.
Here's the lay of the land.
- GOP Wins No Matter What So
argue Mother Jones' David Corn and Suzy Khimm.
"Whoever is nominated, Republican and conservative groups will use the
hearings to rally supporters and raise money—perhaps to use more for the
congressional contests than for any effort to defeat the nominee." They
also gain "a chance to super-charge their attack on the
constitutionality of health care reform and prolong the sparring over
that issue at a time when Democrats had hoped to shift the conversation
to jobs and financial regulation."
- Wrong! GOP Is Nervous Here
Time's Mark Halperin argues that
Republican strategists should be wary of the controversial social issues
that inevitably come up during Supreme Court nomination fights. He says
Republicans want to champion financial concerns and populist rage in
the elections. But, especially with the libertarian bent of the Tea
Party, the GOP worries that the social conservative base is narrower
than their current populist, anti-Obama wave.
- Health Care
Takes Center Stage RealClearPolitics' Michael Barone warns that
health care, and the conservative fight to repeal it, could become a
central issue in the political debate over a potential nominee.
Questions about the constitutionality of health care reform, and about
the Court's power to overturn it, will surely dominate.
Let's Make This Speedy The New York Times' Sewell Chan reports than
Democratic Senators are pushing for a quick resolution. He quotes
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, "I think
we’re going to hear it soon enough so we can wrap this up this summer."
We Reserve the Filibuster Though they did not attempt to
filibuster Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, the Washington
Post's Matthew DeLong reports
that Republicans are keeping that option on the table this go-around. He
culls recent statements from Republican Senators, who are careful to
qualify that such a move would be "unlikely" but who nonetheless
carefully emphasize it as a possible recourse if the nominee is not
- National Journal's Experts: It's Kagan National Journal's "informal
poll of court-watchers" have "overwhelmingly predicted that Solicitor
General Elena Kagan will be President Obama's pick to replace Justice
John Paul Stevens." Respondents cite her conservative support, her
personal closeness to Obama, and her relatively thin record of published
opinions, which gives opposition researchers less to work with.
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