Monday, May 19, 2008

Could John Paul Stevens be a president-maker?

Carpetbagger Report has a post about Stevens and how a McCain presidency would affect the balance on the Supreme Court.

The thing of it is, most of these discussions use the following scenario:
  • 2008 election takes place
  • John McCain wins
  • Stevens leaves the court (resignation or health)
  • President McCain names a replacement
But what if the order was different.
  • Stevens announces a pending resignation (or leaves) prior to November of this year.
  • 2008 election takes place
  • The winner is ...?
There is some focus on the Supreme Court already, but it's not much. If Stevens hints of a departure, you can be damn sure the campaign would be lively. It also might bring disaffected women to Obama (if he gets the nomination), a concern David Corn has written about.

This also applies to Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is not in the best of health. At the time Clinton nominated her, it was clear that he had picked someone too old (60), given that the Republicans now select young justices:
  • Antonin Scalia (on court at age 50)
  • Clarence Thomas (43)
  • Anthony Kennedy (54)
  • David Souter (51)
  • John Roberts (50)
  • Samuel Alito (56)
Beginning with Reagan, the average age of a Republican-appointed justice has been 50.


There is another point to consider:
If a SCOTUS judge resigns now (or dies in office), what to do about a successor? Letting Bush choose another one would be desastrous in my opinion but a Dem filibuster until January would be a powerful campaign issue and the GOP knows better to exploit such an opportunity than the Dems (especially if the nominee is a handicapped black Jewish woman with views that make Yoo and accomplices look like liberal anarchists. We should be prepared for something like that).

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/19/2008 1:02 PM  

precident for filibuster

By Anonymous mark, at 5/19/2008 3:31 PM  

IIRC Orin Hatch was involved in the selection of Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Ruth's a good liberal judge, but they should've picked someone else for the exact reason you allude to.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/19/2008 4:24 PM  

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