Justice John Paul Stevens will retire this summer. Cue the filibuster.
Comments are closed.
by $8 blue check mistermix| 151 Comments
This post is in: Domestic Politics
Justice John Paul Stevens will retire this summer. Cue the filibuster.
Comments are closed.
Too bad they can’t recess appoint a supreme.
Well, they could, but the appointment would have to be re-confirmed when the Senate was back in session, so it’s not that helpful.
Use the GOP’s own words, and repeat as necessary;
Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote. Up or down vote.
I guess we need to start reading that scumbag at Bench Memos again.
I predict Sturm und Drang followed by Senate confirmation of a moderate to moderately left, highly respected jurist. Law professor is unlikely because of published paper trail.
Well, since it’s “the most radical President in history” making the nomination, it’s the Repuglicans’ sacred patriotic duty to do everything they can to stop him, right?
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
I want to thank Stevens for not waiting until after the election. The more things that happen to point out to Democrats that EVERY ELECTION MATTERS, the better.
Bill E Pilgrim
If the Republicans have already pre-rejected any appointee doesn’t that mean we can just skip the whole grueling, insipid, drama queen theater piece, and just seat somebody?
I mean, someone will end up on the bench, so if they’ve done their part of the act ahead of time, why not the other side?
Yes. Anything other than an up-or-down vote is proof that the Republican party hates puppies, grandmas, and Apple Pie. Anything less is political malpractice. This one better be a fire-breathing liberal too. Anything less moves the court to the right.
It’s clear that in order to show that he’s serious about bipartisanship, Obama must nominate a moderate and experienced candidate to the court. Someone like Sarah Palin.
Justice Glenn Greenwald!
Of course, he’ll have to give up his “PAC”.
hopefully the Dems will be smart enough to play the GOP’s petty, knee-jerk, obstructionism into electoral gold.
i made a funny.
Bobby Seale for Supreme Court Justice!
I want a young liberal. How young can he or she be? Twenty five okay?
A mature 25. Wise beyond her years.
It’s about time this liberal fascist stepped down. We all know he was appointed by William Ayers and Stokely Carmichael.
Now for another red blooded American jurist. Someone outside of the box. Perhaps Justice Palin?
The supreme court could very well be Obama’s most lasting legacy. I read something that said he may appoint 1/3 of it in his first term.
Considering his con law background, I have to believe that is important and significant to him.
Maybe Obama should throw them for a loop and nominate an old white guy…. let the Republicans alienate their only remaining demographic?
I’m not sure there is an age requirement. As such I say Barack nominates Sasha.
@BenA: YOU are twisted. too funny.
OT, but do we hate Lee Fisher, and if we do, why do we?
I have to vote.
Well, why not? You have to be a lawyer six years in Ohio. I don’t really know anything about the Supreme Court, and I can’t be expected to look these things up.
I’d like another minority, but that’s just because I so enjoyed watching Republicans talk about wisdom-Latinas. I learned a lot!
The Moar You Know
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): Exactly. As the HCR “debate” proved, there are a lot of Democrats whose commitment to purity far outweighs their commitment to common sense. These people need to keep having the need for some rational thought shoved in their faces.
Stevens isn’t the only one.
We’ve got Ginsburg to worry about as well – she is 77 years old and has already survived one bout of a very lethal type of cancer.
Breyer is 71.
Kennedy is 73.
These three will be going sometime in the near future. We have four ultra-right wing conservatives on the court already, and two of them are only in their fifties and likely to be around a good long time. The court does not need to go any further to the right.
It would do Dems a world of good to remember that the makeup of the high court affects their lives more than any other decision made by a president of the United States.
some other guy
Obama should blow their minds and nominate Hillary.
Cue the GOP chorus of “We’ll vote against anyone Obama nominates.” Once more with feeling, boys!
This is good news for Dems. Having a nomination fight before the mid-terms will most likely mobilize the base, especially if there’s plenty of images of Rs going after someone like Kagan on abortion. The pro-choice white woman vote is one of the biggest planks of the D party. Having them motivated heading into November would be huge.
Too bad Bill Clinton’s ticker is a risk factor for a short term. I’d pay cash money to see Big Dog and Fat Nino go at it during oral arguments.
Isn’t Ward Churchill looking for work?
James K. Polk, Esq.
SOOOOO glad this is happening right after the wingnuts have to vote against the new START treaty.
General Egali Tarian Stuck
My guess is that the WH is not all that thrilled to be picking a supreme right now. And it will be interesting to see who they pick. Or, a young liberal to excite the liberal base, or a more moderate choice in hopes of deflecting the wingnuts getting their tribe all hot and bothered.
I would too like to see him go the clear liberal root, and with Plouffe back in the WH, I think it is possible Obama will go this route, hopefully having learned the wingnuts cannot be placated by any gesture toward the moderate. But I wouldn’t bet a plug nickle on O taking the confrontational route. I hope I am wrong about that and he appoints a libtard that will make both GG and Jane gush.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@The Moar You Know: I was astounded at how little attention the SC got in the last election, at least from the Left, Left of batshit crazy, that is.
I always thought Hillary Clinton would be brilliant on the Supreme Court, but I have a hard time seeing her resign from State. IANAL, but from what I’ve read, Diane Wood is my first choice. Greenwald has already declared Obama dead to him for naming Cass Sunstein.
Scalia is 74 and fat. I can’t wait for the president to pick his replacement in 2015.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I thought of Hillary as well, but frankly, from a strategic point of view she’s too old.
Bill E Pilgrim
@The Moar You Know: Uhm, what are you talking about?
All of those Democrats who voted for a third-party candidate last year instead of Obama??
Paul in KY
Justice Greenwald would certainly drive the GOP into Peak-Wingnut-Squared. He should just leak the name to mess with them.
Ms. Kagen sounds like about as good a choice as can realistically be expected to get through without filibusters, moaning & wailing from the nutwads.
Hillary would also be a fine choice (except for her age).
From a disease-model point of view, Scalia is a “carrier” of mortality. He’ll be driving people around him to his grave when he’s 104 and fat.
@General Egali Tarian Stuck:
They do such an elaborate analysis for SCOTUS picks these days, I can’t imagine they don’t have a list. I suspect most of the work is done, in other words. They just go to Number Two.
I’m just pleased because I know this is venal and cruel and heartless, but I worry about the old ‘uns. I get cranky, and start thinking of them as “selfish” for sticking around. I’m all about efficiency, Stuck! Next!
Clarence Thomas is a really old looking 62. My money is on him before Scalia… I don’t care either way though. :-)
I’d like to make myself available for nomination.
Sure, I’m no “lawyer” who went to “law school,” but I’m fairly sure the structure and logic of my arguments are at least as strong as Justice Scalia’s.
Meh. We’ll get that anyway, no matter who he nominates.
Elena Kagan would be great. She’s only 50.
I was going to vote for Betty originally but mostly because she is younger. I have no strong feelings against either Fisher or Sutton (hey, and a few years ago I even ran into Fisher at the Brooks Brothers store).
At first I wondered if Fisher would have a harder time winning since he has lost statewide races before but polling shows it will be close and perhaps Fisher is stronger, so in the end I may end up trading youth (relatively speaking) with a longer potential term for someone more likely to win.
General Egali Tarian Stuck
I would also through my hat in the ring, but am waiting for a slot on the Joint Chiefs to open up. I, after all, was the Chief of Joints for my old unit.
@ Paul in KY: Don’t kid yourself. There would be filibustering, moaning, and wailing even if Obama nominated Sarah Palin. (“He’s only doing it to get her out of politics! We won’t stand for it!”) The only realistic expectation is that, once again and as always these days, Democrats are going to have to do this by themselves.
CK Dexter Haven
Since, Obama is the most radical, leftist president on the history of USA, can he resurrect Karl Marx and appoint him to the court?
You do not need to be an attorney to hold a seat on the USSC.
Paul in KY
@gwangung: Definitely get the moaning & wailing, but they already confirmed her for Soliciter General, so they’ll look really hypocritical (or more hypocritical than normal), if they filibuster her.
Now that I think about it (and this response goes to Ashcan as well), they’ll probably do one with her too. :-)
An openly gay Supreme!
How cool would that be?
Sigh. A girl can dream.
Must be all that porn.
Nominate John McCain. Watch him have to decline the offer on account that it would appear he’s too friendly with Obama, lest he be teabagged.
Obama should hold a press conference where he announces that, in the pursuit of balance and bi-partisanship, he won’t accept Stevens’ resignation unless it is packaged with the resignation of Scalia or Thomas. It’s the fair thing to ask for the country.
And then, after about 10 second of silence, break out into hysterical laughter and dispatch paramedics to attend to the exploded heads.
they can’t do it by themselves. they don’t have 60 votes, even with the I’s.
I’m still rooting for an atheist to be picked.
In the spirit of Caligula sending his horse to the Roman Senate, I suggest Bo the dog.
Paul in KY
@Ash Can: I was kidding myself :-)
I’ve shut up about it locally because we’re getting active again and I don’t want a big divide, so I can’t ask the people I usually rely on for old-timey Ohio politics. We’re a small band here, and it’s gossipy. I just can’t deal with that, at this time. I don’t want to fight with Democrats. Christ, it’s going to be hard enough.
Thanks. I like to early vote because I dropped out of poll worker duty after I made a pain in the ass of myself over the Limbaugh zombies voting in our primary, which is actually against Ohio law. I kept talking, and now they all shun me, in poll worker circles. True, though. I hate to be a stickler, but, well, it’s against the law to throw a primary, in Ohio. I felt I had to mention that.
I’m especially excited for this one since a few of the potential nominees are GAY GAY GAY GAY.
Gonna be fun.
@PeakVT: I think that’s even less likely than my “openly gay” suggestion.
There will be exploding heads no matter who Obama nominates.
Kagan and Wood are women, and the old white boys on the Republican side of the aisle won’t like that – especially since Kagan is pretty vociferously pro-choice.
Koh isn’t white, and he believes that international legal norms should inform the construction and interpretation of US law. Hard to imagine how anyone could be less palatable to the wingnuts.
Sunstein? Well, we know Greenwald’s head would explode.
Balancing the above considerations, I think I’m in favor of Sunstein.
On MSNBC they just had Joe “The Thinker” Scarborough say that the Obama White House “just doesn’t want to be involved in another total war” which to him of course this is.
At no point did he consider that, you know, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE “total war.” The Republicans could do the whole Advise and Consent thing, like they’re supposed to.
No, I guess not. Its gotta be Total War over everything. Thanks, Joe!
Obama is the most ‘radical’ President ever — this coming from people who worship, literally worship, the “Reagan Revolution”.
This is comedy gold.
As others have said, the repubs are gonna object to anyone no matter who it is so POTUS should just go all out and select the biggest DFH he can find.
I must admit I like the idea of Kagan though, from what little I have read.
@rob!: And if people didn’t want to be mugged at gun point, they wouldn’t carry valuables about their person!
It’s really the fault of whoever leaves their house, not of those who harass them, jump them, and take their shit (which, in the case of a democratically elected President with a clear mandate and a huge majority in both Houses, “his shit” = his time and efforts + the time and energy of the American people. I fear my analogy is growing thin, but I’m sticking with it. No flip-flopper, ellaesther! I think you see my point).
The Grand Panjandrum
My personal preference is Harvey Fierstein, because who wouldn’t want to hear him read a decision from the bench.
Let’s take a minute and think about who John McCain might have picked as a nominee for the SCOTUS, should he have won the election. Or if Sarah Palin had a say in the matter.
. . .
Ah. That was uncomfortable.
I think I’ll be pretty much all right with anyone Obama picks.
@Mike Kay: I think he’s keeping himself healthy, though, with all the sleeping that he (literally) does in the Court.
@General Egali Tarian Stuck: Hey, I was too!
@Napoleon: I seems they they can. But it is more wishful thinking than a possibility. Last one was Brennan by Eisenhower per Wikipedia.
@The Grand Panjandrum: I would nominate Kevin Costner. If that’s what it takes to stop him from making movies, so be it.
CK Dexter Haven
BTW, does anyone know, if a nomination to Supreme Court will need a GOP vote in the committee to get it out of there?
Stevens retiring was inevitable, but it still sucks. Obama is unlikely to nominate someone as liberal as Stevens. Not that someone as liberal as Stevens would have a chance of getting through.
@ellaesther: Black lesbian. Fingers crossed.
I would pay big bucks to see this and it would have the added benefit of making Alito’s head assplode. Big Dog might even be able to convince Roberts to use his brilliant legal mind for good instead of evil. I can dream, can’t I?
Brick Oven Bill
It is time to right a wrong.
President Obama is now presented with the historic opportunity to appoint a stuttering midget to the Supreme Court.
With the Senate set to fall into Republican hands in November, this could be our last chance to finally extend social justice to this under-represented group of Americans.
Don’t go wobbly on us at this point in your Administration, Mr. President.
@kay: I hear Constance McMillen is at loose ends now.
@ cleek: That’s what I get for letting wishful thinking get the better of me.
@ ellaesther: Can you imagine if Obama nominated Barney Frank? The shit-flipping would be so fast and furious that DC would end up buried all the way to Baltimore.
That would be an awesome mashup video. And the ad should be run in every state.
Activist judge! Judicial tyranny! The most radical left-winger in history!
Wait…what? Obama hasn’t nominated anybody yet? Stevens hasn’t even actually retired yet? Hmmmm…. Let me reassess my reaction based on these new facts. OK. So what I meant to say was:
Activist judge! Judicial tyranny! The most radical left-winger in history!
some other guy
But would Robert Reich be willing to take the job?
Stevens is the only Justice with military experience. In a strange twist, the GOP is going to argue someone with military experience should be nominated (which excludes Kagan).
The Tea Partiers will go bonkers all summer but Obama will get his choice. After all, it’s Stevens’s replacement we’re talking about. The parties will keep their powder dry for the day Kennedy retires.
@Brick Oven Bill:
I can see you want the job, BOB, but what are your qualifications?
and if we’re really lucky, the nominee will have once made an ambiguous statement at a speech somewhere, 18 years ago, which, when taken out of context and viewed by discerning eyes, will appear to signal insufficiently strong support for the right to choose. this will, in turn, lead the vocally pro-choice faction to turn purple-faced with rage as they embark on a three-week quest to destroy the nomination. this will further weaken the already-tepid support from one or two key Senate Dems, and will lead to much eye-rolling among those who don’t see the statement in the same way. or maybe it won’t be a pro-choice thing. maybe it could be a perceived slight to unions, or to Hispanics – just to mix things up a bit.
good times ahead!
Brick Oven Bill
I would actually be an excellent choice for the job, upon reflection. I sell sex toys and am a good pizza cook.
The nomination would be accepted.
From Stevens’ resignation letter:
I will take “Wishful Thinking” for $300, Alex.
When Stevens retires, it will be 4 Republicans, 3 democrats and 1 who votes mainly with Republicans (Kennedy), so I would not be surprised to see the Republicans drag out the confirmation to give themselves an even bigger edge in deciding close cases.
BTW, isn’t it odd that this will be Obama’s second nomination to fill the position of a judge appointed by a Republican (Souter by GWHB and Stevens by Gerald Ford) and that both of these justices are considered liberals?
@Brick Oven Bill: Spoof of a spoof?
@Brick Oven Bill:
There you have it, folks. More qualified than at least five of the sitting Justices.
I’m holding out for Judge Rienhold.
Brick Oven Bill
I am as serious as a Zu Zu Pets Hamster, arriving at its new owner’s home, PeakVT.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Having those functions in house would save a lot of time for both Scalia and Thomas. At least their clerks.
@PeakVT: He defies categorization, really. Neither spoof nor troll: a quantum state of undefined transitory bullshit.
Let’s just say, “crazy.” Or “awful,” whatever.
Jack Balkin is having a bit of fun with Confederate History Month.
@Brick Oven Bill:
No, no, it’s pronounced “Zu Zu Pets Hamster”, but it’s spelled “Jane Hamsher”. That mistake will cost you in the confirmation hearings.
I say Obama should appoint one of the moderates on his list (they all look fine to me). Then, as the Republicans mount the inevitable filibuster, recess appoint Greenwald to be on the court, with the appointment to expire on voting on the original appointee (this is exactly the kind of thing recess appointments are for). Remind everybody constantly that all the Republicans need to do is allow a vote per the Constitution! Meanwhile, enjoy Greenwald’s statements and arguments on the Court.
PUMAs will go nuclear if Hillary isn’t nominated. This will be fun to watch.
can we finally do an above-ground test of the nuclear option?
I hope he nominates University of Chicago law professor David Strauss. Here’s why.
Back when I was a student at U of C, Professor Strauss was teaching a particular Con Law class. So was another professor. When it came time for me to take that class, I had to decide which professor to take it with. Both Strauss and the other guy had great reputations. Both were really smart, really good teachers, and had outstanding reputations among their former students. Which one to pick? I ultimately went with Strauss — I had taken a torts class with him two years earlier and really enjoyed it, so I decided to go with the known quantity. And I don’t think that was a bad choice — I did really enjoy the Con Law class and I learned a whole lot. Excpet that here we are a dozen years later and David Strauss is still a highly-respected professor at U of C who most people have never heard of while the other guy — the guy whose class I could have taken but didn’t — is President of the United States.
In hindsight, my decision to take Con Law with David Strauss instead of Barack Obama will seem much smarter if David Strauss is a Supreme Court justice. That is why — for my sake — President Obama should nominate David Strauss.
OT: It’s probably been said before… but the “Han shot first” tagline is classic. ;-)
Don’t forget folks, when he was first appointed to the bench, Justice Stevens was clearly in the middle (he voted against affirmative action quotas in Bakke). It was only in the late 80s and into the 90s that he really shifted left (which, really, isn’t the right way of framing this debate, but it’s how the spouting heads will do it).
Personally, I don’t want to see someone elevated from a Circuit Court of Appeal. I’d rather see a District Court Judge, a private practitioner, or a law professor (in that order) get the job. The problem with law professors is that many of them don’t tend to practice much law, so they are great on theory and terrible on the real stuff. Judges from the Courts of Appeal tend to favor upholding precedent more often than not (mainly because they have to do that on the Court of Appeal level).
But at the end of the day, I think whoever Obama nominates, they will be able to handle the job and get the votes necessary to be confirmed.
I wonder who Sarah Palin thinks should be the next SC Justice. When she’s finished talking nuclear policy, I sure she has some suggestions. Maybe George Steph can ask her about that.
I’m going to miss Justice Stevens. I always appreciate his opinions. More than once I’ve been reading a Scalia opinion (or concurrence) and I’ve thought, huh, this actually makes sense. But that’s not a good sign, where did I miss the turn off on Scalia’s line of reasoning. And then I read J Stevens. And he explains why Scalia is just wrong. And illogical. And he does all this in such a calm, thoughtful manner.
I know we’re incredibly lucky that President Obama is appointing the next justice, but a part of me just wants to hold onto J Stevens’s robes a little longer. Don’t leave! Age backward!
Seriously, though– does this mean that Scalia is now the next senior justice? Damn (he gets to assign the writing of opinions if he disagrees with the CJ, which, come to think of it, may not happen all that much… So then would it go to Kennedy?).
A favorite J Stevens moment: J Stevens wrote both, I believe, Hamdi and Hamdan. For one of them, I can’t remember which, Thomas was writing a dissent. Thomas insisted on reading his dissent from the bench. And in that dissent, Thomas lamented the fact that the majority (Stevens) had no idea what war was like. Thomas, you see, spent a lot of time on thefrontlines of the Dept of Educ, so that’s just like flying fighter jets in Korea.
I wish Obama would nominate someone like Harold Koh but
I assume the WH will view him as too liberal and try to compromise by nominating a moderate. And the right-wing will still freak the fuck out.
Actually, I’d like to see him nominate someone like Martha Nussbaum or Ronald Dworkin but that ain’t ever gonna happen.
Tee hee. “Accountability Now” would have a new er, “mission.” Hamsher would get her flunkies to sign a “petition” supporting the filibuster. Comedy gold, that would be.
ETA Feh. Blockquote fail.
I’d say that would be a good starting point. Anoint the most liberal guy you can find and then put up a slightly less liberal guy after the first one is rejected to look moderate.
Or he could go the comedy route and start floating names like Alinsky, Wright, and Soros just to see all of the heads out in wingnuttia explode.
Oh, gee. Ya know, with all the judges… all the activism that you see in judges these days, and how that affects people’s freedoms, I think a judge should be independent and not beholden to the fringe radical groups that need judges to make their laws. Ya know? These radicals need to be kicked out of the government. That’s right! You know it and they know it too. That’s why they’re trying to get every last penny out of our country before we take it back! But, you know, there’s too much of that (air quote) activism over there in Washington DC and the coastal cities. We need real American leadership in the Court. A judge should be like my friend Newt Gingrich who won’t let his own biases and special interests get int the way of honestly following our Constitution as it is written and not how some elitist special lawyer thinks it should go.
oh fer fuck’s sake. Greenwald is already dissing Elena Kagan. Fuck him.
Disclosure: Elena and I went to the same high school and it would totally RAWK if she were nominated.
Question: I think the liberal judges hang on as long as possible to try and protect prior decisions and rights (ie roe vs wade). Does anyone think that conservative judges hang on to the appointment for an opportunity to scuttle these decisions? Or like Thomas, they just think it’s an easy gig and they can just sit on the court, not participate until the vote, and collect a paycheck?
@Brick Oven Bill:
You’re thinking small, BOB. Needs to be a black (or any non-white) female islamocommie stuttering gay midget. Sweep the board.
You lead with Farrakan and then have Bill Ayers as your fallback. If you’re going to fuck with them, go all-in.
Or he could go the other route and nominate the now gay-marriage loving Ted Olson, and just watch the comedy play out.
@eemom: Whoever is nominated, both the teabaggers and Greenwald will hate it. There’s no reason to listen to either on anything.
RELEASE THE FILIBUSTER!
OT but just read this.
It was on this day in 1833 that America’s first tax-supported public library opened, in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Today, there are more than 9,000 public libraries in the United States, including the Peterborough Town Library, which is still going strong.
Dammit, need we wonder about creeping socialism, when it was going on all the way back then.
TeaBaggers need to find a way to blame Obama for this!
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Hillary Clinton failed the DC bar exam, and there is nothing in her legal education background that measures up to recently appointed Justice Sotomayor. Apart from this, Hillary is holding onto the dream of becoming the first woman elected president and would fight off any serious discussion to put her on the Supreme Court.
In interviews surrounding his recent New Yorker profile of on Justice Stevens, Jeff Toobin hinted that Solicitor General Kagan would be the Administration’s first choice.
My preferred jurist would be someone in the mold of David Souter. A stealth candidate expected to meekly follow the lead of conservative jurists, he thoughtfully became his own man. Many of his opinions lay the groundwork for the final demolition of Scalia’s rigidly insipid originalist mythology.
The last thing I want to see on the court is a law professor, unless Obama appoints himself.
I also remember this little factoid about under-appreciated Justice Thurgood Marshall, from a 1990 profile:
I think that someone who has had to defend a real flesh and blood human being looks at the law in a different way than someone whose clients have less on the line than their very lives.
By the way, Chief Justice Roberts argued 39 cases before the Court and prevailed in 25.
Also, by the way, Chief Justice Earl Warren had been a governor, district attorney and attorney general, but he had never been a judge before his appointment to the Court.
But I am tired of theorists and the idea that you can or should try to find someone who is predictably and narrowly liberal.
This isn’t meant as a Hillary bash, but why do people keep going back to her? When is the last time she practiced law? Argued a case? I’m sure she’s brilliant, but there are plenty of brilliant lawyers out there who could easily fill the vacancy before Hillary’s name ever comes up. This isn’t a popularity contest.
Re: Stevens “liberal” designation, Adam B. at GOS has a quote from an interview Stevens did with Jeffrey Rosen:
While I’d like Obama to nominate an unabashed liberal, the idea that Stevens is the anchor of the liberal wing is media-driven myth.
Olson is in odd duck. Before government service he was a partner in the Los Angeles, California office of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which was the official law firm of the California WASP elite. But he has had some interestingly principled positions as a litigator.
Olson has also been touched by tragedy:
Cool story, bro!
That’s some of the best commentary I’ve read yet. I agree that it would be nice to see someone with a background in criminal defense. Sometimes reading opinions from the court regarding criminal matters you get the sense that they are not particularly familiar with the actual application of “justice” in our criminal courts.
@JasonF: This seems like a reasonable argument. Sign me up.
In interviews and profiles, Stevens has made clear the point that he was seen as more liberal as the Court became more rigidly conservative. Where, then, is the media-driven myth?
Also, some of the most liberal Court opinions have come justices who were appointed by conservative presidents. Be careful what you ask for: a justice with acceptable liberal bona fides might turn out to be a mediocrity with neither influence nor any lasting significance.
The Toobin New Yorker profile clearly spells out the significance of Steven’s power as leader of the liberal wing:
You are one sick mutha.
The upside of nominating Olson would be that Evan Bayh couldn’t vote against him if he ever wants to get laid again. Olson was Susan Bayh’s mentor when she worked at Gibson Dunn.
good point. I like the Clintons but both of them are so ridiculously unsuited for the SCt I’m surprised they are even mentioned. It is in many ways a “behind the scenes” institution cloaked in mystery. The Clintons don’t DO mystery.
So all this talk about Obama needing to replace “liberal” Stevens with another liberal, and Stevens says he’s not liberal? LOL.
Listen to the pundits. Read the comments on this blog. Joey the Scar isn’t gonna talk about Stevens as a moderate. Neither is Rush the Fat Slob or Bobo or any of the neocons on the Kaplan Post’s op-ed page. And the GOP will be spewing that shite from every orifice.
Media-driven myth implies that it doesn’t matter WTF Stevens says in interviews, they’ll have that image in their mind as they’re composing their edits, op-eds, and stories (cf., “liberal” Barack Obama). Perhaps instead of media driven, it should be GOP-driven instead?
Oh, I totally agree. Picking a Supreme Court justice used to be a lot more of a crap shoot, so to speak. With Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Ginsberg, the political leanings have been much more obvious, IMHO, and don’t drift as much. Don’t know exactly why that is.
@eemom: Darling, why do you bother to even read him?
He’s a smear artist.
Well, since the precedent has already been set…
Up or down vote on the nominee or Nuclear Option.
And daily reminders that we’re just playing by the rules of the last Republican Congress.
@Glyph_2112: Short answer: yes.
There is now, and really always has been, a political decision made by Justices on when/if they retire. They typically want their replacements appointed by someone more likely to appoint someone like themselves. It’s also why we use to have many more problems with “midnight appointments” than we do now.
That said, the shots at Thomas “not participating” are bullshit. No, he doesn’t ask a lot of questions at oral arguments, but so what? He prefers to let the attorneys make their arguments, he reads the briefs, he considers the arguments, and he makes a decision – which is what a judge should do. That he doesn’t do it in a style that is to your liking is irrelevant. Hot panels (as those who ask many questions are commonly known) are a recent phenomenon. I’ve had a couple of appellate oral arguments where I got no more than two questions in a half hour.
@eemom: She’s the one who (among many, many other things) clerked for Thurgood Marshall, yes? That alone makes me want her on the Court.
@Brachiator: So the seniority goes to Ginsburg (or Kennedy, if Kennedy isn’t in agreement with the CJ). Interesting. She may be older, and she is certainly very tiny in person, but her mind is just as sharp as ever. Plus, she’s apparently very close to J Scalia. All very interesting. Thanks for the link to the New Yorker article.
I just want a justice who’s smart, reasonable, and drives J Scalia a little bit crazy. I want s/he to believe in a right to privacy and that the judicial branch should protect individual / minority rights.
And if we’re really doing wish lists here, following JasonF (really cool story, BTW), I would (some day) like to have a former law professor of mine on the Court. He’s a AZ Supreme Court Judge (Scott Bales); he clerked for O’Connor, he was Gov. Napolitano’s solicitor general. He was my favorite professor (he teaches Separation of Powers while being on the Court). He’s ridiculously smart, big history buff. I loved the way his mind worked. He reminded me a lot of Obama, actually; or, perhaps, the other way around — one of the reasons I started leaning towards Obama early on was because I saw such similarities in the two.
unfortunately Salon still has two or three decent writers left so I still click on it, and thus does his ugly mug with his stupid headlines persist in invading my consciousness.
The really hilarious thing is that the groupies at his place and FDL think HE would be qualified to be a SCt justice. For all his pretensions to Constitutional scholarship, the little twerp practiced law for all of about 8 years, half of them at a NY megafirm.
Can you imagine him even ARGUING before the SCt? “With all due respect, Justice Sotomayor, you’re just disagreeing with me because you’re a mindless Obamabot.”
I doubt the White House needs a reminder about this but…
No one over age 55 please.
RE: In interviews and profiles, Stevens has made clear the point that he was seen as more liberal as the Court became more rigidly conservative. Where, then, is the media-driven myth?
I see your point, but I never listen to pundits. They are to the media what the astrology column of your local newspaper is to science.
I am somewhat dismayed by some folks, even here, who don’t take the time to find easily available information and history about the Court, and prefer to base their reactions to Stevens on the received opinion of pundits, the Huffington Post and the reflections of Chairman Greenwald. But I can’t calibrate “the media” based on ignorance and laziness.
For those interested in background on Stevens, I again refer to the New Yorker piece referenced earlier in this thread, and to Toobin’s Fresh Air interview.
Again, Toobin is very clear on Stevens’ place in the Court as the Court changed.
People who obsess over the need to get a liberal on the Court to do liberal opinion writing need to step back and look at a larger perspective.
Again, I point out the example of Justice Souter, who turned out to be a thoughtful moderate and took on Scalia’s pretensions to be the intellectual leader of the conservative wing.
Souter also perhaps helps answer your question. Conservatives felt as betrayed by Souter’s refusal to stay in the right wing camp as earlier conservatives had felt betrayed by Chief Justice Earl Warren’s refusal to be a conservative yes man. And so, the right has gone out of its way to try to put people with reliably conservative views on the Court.
Obama seems to have a clear idea of what he is looking for in a Supreme Court Justice. Fortunately, ideology purity is low on the list.
comrade scott's agenda of rage
He’s also a hypocritical dick. I’ve been in the audience twice when he was the speaker. If anybody ever needed shoes thrown at him, it’s Fat Tony.
@eemom: Yes. I’ve told the groupies he must have sucked as a litigator, considering his paper thin skinn.
So you look at you, a Hunter Prep grad. Impressive.
Given Republican intransigence (read willingness to filibuster everything and everyone), I’d seriously consider the following strategy if I was Obama. First, I’d ask Hillary if she wants the job. If she does, then I’d appoint her. If not, I’d ask her if she wants to serve as Vice President, and if she’s willing to run as VP in 2012 and as President in 2016. If she says yes, then I’d nominate Joe Biden to the Court (assuming he’d take it), and select her as to be his replacement as VP.
Biden (or Clinton) is probably the most liberal person you can nominate who can get confirmed. Because of the clubby nature of the Senate, there will be less resistance in getting him (or her) confirmed. Both Snowe and Collins will be hard pressed explaining to their Maine constituents that they don’t want to vote for Hillary or Joe. It’s a lot easier to dismiss as a liberal crank some judge or law professor few if any Americans have heard of before. Despite claims to the contrary by the GOP, both Joe and Hillary are popular with the American people. They’re only disliked by a narrow segment of the population: conservative Republicans.
Hillary to VP is a wildly smart political move. Given the likelihood that Palin will be the GOP nominee if she decides to run, putting Hillary into the VP slot now avoids any charge (or at least dampens the charge) that it was in response to Palin’s nomination, which is what would happen if it occurs in the Summer of 2012. Hillary to VP also means Obama breaks the gender barrier in that position right now, with the promise of breaking an even bigger barrier in 2016. It thereby undermines the novelty of a Palin nomination. (If memory serves, only the House of Representatives get to vote to confirm someone for Vice President in the event of a vacancy, so the Republicans can’t filibuster a vote on Hillary’s confirmation.)
Of course, this strategy could undercut my great hope should Biden be the Court pick: i.e., that Obama nominate women, and only women, for every vacancy that occurs on the Court until there are 5 female Justices on the Court. I say this not just as someone who works with really smart, female attorneys, but also as someone who knows that, today, there are more women, then men, in the population, that there are more women, then men, who attend law school, and soon (very soon) there will be more women, then men, who practice law. That reality should be reflected in the composition of the Court.
It’s a win-win for Obama in either case. If he picks a dude (Joe) for the Court, then he gets a left of center voice on the Court while nominating Hillary to serve as the first female Vice President. If he picks Hillary, he still gets a left of center voice on the Court and increases its complement of women to three (with only two more to go.)
@comrade scott’s agenda of rage:
I went to see him on the Bush v Gore Reputation Rehab Tour, where he belligerently barked out 3 word responses every time anyone mentioned Bush v Gore. I maintain he’s ashamed of that decision. He looked cornered and defensive and miserable through the whole event.
He misunderstood some poor law student’s question and was incredibly rude in his response to a question that hadn’t been asked. I thought “great. he’s a poor listener.”.
Ezra for SCOTUS! He could write decisions with pie charts in them, fuck yeah!
Thanks. It is actually Hunter College High School and is a public school for the “gifted.” It’s a GREAT school and I’m very proud to have gone there, undistinguished alum though I am.
Elena Kagan was three years ahead of me — didn’t know her but I’m SURE I must have passed her in the hall at one time……maybe even touched her…..
The great and reknowned blogger Steve Gilliard, RIP, went to Hunter also.
Speaking as someone who sat in a 1 1/2 hour conversation with Justice Thomas during a class trip to the SCOTUS, and has read Rehnquist’s history of the court (very entertaining read, I might add), among others, who finds a relaxing evening sometimes listening to oral arguments on oyez.org, and who studies the media for a living, I am equally dismayed. But it has ever been thus, and now more so.
I made the point of Stevens’ appointment via Ford in an earlier thread on this very subject.
And while *you* don’t listen to pundits, there’s a reason why George the Bow-Tie gets his factually inaccurate crap printed every week (BTW, on the same trip, I sat in his back yard while his maid cooked hamburgers for the class).
I don’t find ideological purity to be totally contra to jurisdictional ideology. I haven’t said that yet, perhaps. Put it this way: I could see a justice who is unabashedly liberal politically who is also a “conservative” in regards to the court’s previous decisions, who sees the issues before the court in a different light than the constitutional “originalists” who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
And I’d be more than happy if Obama appointed one.
Is he a lawyer? No matter! He’s attractive and personable and earnest.
I went to see Justice Ginsburg once. I’m not following them around or anything. I get free continuing ed credits for these “events” sometimes and I’m a cheapskate. Anyhoo, she’s a very nice person but this is how she described Justice Roberts: “our handsome young Chief”. That was a little nausea inducing. It was right after he ascended to the throne.
I wonder if she’d say that now, because they’re all but sworn enemies.
Not gonna say “This” ’cause it’s so friggin’ obvious and common sensical.
I mean, really, people…
My favorite Fat Tony moment was when the heroic NYU Grad Student cornered him on his “government has a compelling interest in criminalizing adult sex acts” crapola by asking him…
“Do you sodomize your wife?”
@some other guy:
Or Anita Hill.
I my unbiased (hah!) opinion, the conservatives are nastier.
Ginsburg went on and on about how wonderful her colleagues are, she mentioned Scalia, O’Connor and The Handsome Chief, and neither Scalia nor O’Connor mentioned Ginsburg. They talked only about themselves.
You wonder, does she know this decency and generosity isn’t reciprocal, on the speaking tour circuit?
How long before the first anonymously-sourced Elena Kagan hit piece? And who will publish it?
Here is nasty, self-centered Sandra Day O’Connor on Thurgood Marshall (she wept when Marshall announced his retirement from the Court):
Like most of my counterparts who grew up in the Southwest in the 1930s and 1940s, I had not been personally exposed to racial tensions before Brown; Arizona did not have a large African American population then, and unlike southern States, it never adopted a de jure system of segregation. Although I had spend a year as an eighth grader in a predominately Latino public school in New Mexico, I had no personal sense, as the plaintiff children of Topeka School District did, of being a minority in a society that cared primarily for the majority.
But as I listened that day to Justice Marshall talk eloquently to the media about the social stigmas and lost opportunities suffered by African American children in state-imposed segregated school, my awareness of race-based disparities deepened. I did not, could not, know it then, but the man who would, as a lawyer and jurist, captivate the nation would also, as colleague and friend, profoundly influence me.
Although all of us come to the Court with our own personal histories and experiences, Justice Marshall brought a special perspective. His was the eye of a lawyer who saw the deepest wounds in the social fabric and used law to help heal them. His was the ear of a counselor who understood the vulnerabilities of the accused and established safeguards for their protection. His was the mouth of a man who knew the anguish of the silenced and gave them a voice.
At oral arguments and conference meetings, in opinions and dissents, Justice Marshall imparted not only his legal acumen but also his life experiences, constantly pushing and prodding us to respond not only to the persuasiveness of legal argument but also to the power of moral truth.
Prediction, no matter who gets nominated, someone in the blogsphere will find some reason to point to that nominee as “Obama stabbing the left in the back”
So if I were the President, I’d just pick the most qualified person.