When Justice David Souter was appointed to the Supreme Court by the first George Bush, conservatives applauded, thinking they scored a life-long ally on the nation’s top bench. They were wrong. Souter became one of the liberal voices on the court. Some blame Souter’s lack of experience (he was a federal judge for only two months before Bush’s appointment) for his about-face; others say he never even had time to form a liberal or conservative slant in that time. Some blame Justice Antonin Scalia for driving a wedge between conservative justices, and failing to lead his right-leaning peers into agreement. Some don’t care — and were glad to have Souter’s leftist viewpoint. But Souter is leaving now, after 19 years on the job, meaning President Barack Obama will have to speedily appoint a new justice in his first year in office.
(The second George Bush had to wait until well into his second term, but he got to appoint two justices.)
It’s Obama taking office that will be credited with Souter’s departure; he didn’t want a conservative president to replace him, all but guaranteeing a conservative majority.
Obama has said he won’t give Supreme Court candidate a “litmus test” on social issues. When it comes to abortion, for instance, Obama says he believes the Court ruled correctly in Roe v. Wade, but he won’t require an appointee to side with him. Is that just political speak to allow Obama to appeal to conservatives while secretly knowing he would never put somebody on the court that could overrule that decision? Or does Obama really want to keep with this “reaching across the aisle” business?
And if Obama has no litmus test on social issues, what does that mean about the appointment of a justice who doesn’t believe in full equality for gay people? As the president has already demonstrated, GLBT issues are not on the top of his list. But should they at least be a consideration when it comes to a new justice? Or if not a consideration, a deal breaker?
If we see the bus coming, does it still hurt as much when we get thrown under it?
Jesus Holds His Hand
I hear Rick Warren’s phone ringing.
this is really very frightening actually- whether he really believes in bipartisanship(which has failed so far) or he really doesn’t care about gay rights- this could be really bad…
I’ll hope for the best.
@burton21: YES, it does!!!
Obama has to nominate someone who own backgroend is SPOTLESS, bucause the Rethuglicans are going to do EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER to block ANY, I repeat ANY pro-choice, pro-gay, or liberal tendencied nominee.
He will choose a moderate, probably a “minority” and/or woman to attempt to introduce more diversity to the court.
Any liberal judge nominee will NEVER, NEVER get through the nomination process. Deal with fucking REALITY people, it’s not OBAMA “throwing us under the bus”, it’s about dealing with psychotic republican opposition, and actually getting someone seated on the court.
Know who your REAL enemies are, drop the paranoid rantings!
Check out the civil rights “CHANGES” on Whitehouse dot gov. More “Change we can believe in”!!!!
Sorry for the bad spelling, in a hurry this morning.
I’m confused. Am I supposed to wish McCain was making the choice?
Obama can appoint a liberal. With Franken, we’ll soon have 60 seats. Round up the Democratic senators, tell them to toe the party line, and get a young liberal on the bench who can serve 30 years.
I still think an young “outright” liberal is a fantasy, a nice fantasy, but still not based in any kind of D.C. realities…Telling all Dems to “toe the party line” rarely,if ever, works…as you have several conservative southern “blue dog” (or whatever the Hell they are) Democrats AND anti-choice democrats as well…
Best case (realistic) scenario is still a moderate (with some liberal or at least “fairness” tendencies) with a SPOTLESS record. The rethugs will attack this nominee at every turn.
(Not that you did) but don’t blame Obama for the realities of a divided and still largely conservative Senate.
Sonia Sotomayor, 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, Puerto Rican descent, Noo Yawker. She’s 55, but she also has diabetes.
Other possibles, Jennifer Granholm (MI Governor), Deval Patrick (MA Governor) and Elena Kagan (US Solicitor General, former dean of Harvard Law Chool)
Eh I don’t think this is correct. Not only do Dems have a supermajority, but do you really think Republicans would try to filibuster after all the noise they made about the practice during the last president? And SCOTUS nominees almost never get voted down. Even Ginsburg was voted in 96-3. If Obama nominates a moderate to the bench, it will not be because of Congress, it will be in the name of supposed ‘bipartisanship.’
@Dennis: the republicans can’t do shit.
they are powerless.
especially when it comes to SCOTUS noms- the democrats couldn’t block any of bush’s, except Harriet myers w/ the republicans help-(which gave us roberts-ouch)
Your fear empowers them.
He’s going to go for a “moderate” who hopefully will turn out like Souter, who was actually considered “conservative” before being seated.
Don’t be surprised if gay marriage becomes the hot button question at the hearings.
@Dennis: Nope, I think that Obama has the power and votes to put someone in who is socially more liberal. I understand there will be fierce opposition, but I see it as an attainable goal. However, I have a sinking feeling we may hear more of the “reaching across the aisle” bs, hence my comment about getting thrown under the bus.
Honestly given the majorities the Dems currently have they could probably push through almost anyone Obama taped but the thing is if the did that even the vague bs kind of bipartisanship in congress that is starting to show up would be dead in the water though I really don’t see the repugnants being truly bipartisan during the current session.
Here’s what Fox and Friends had to say this morning about Souter’s replacement:
What’s he going to do with his time now? I think his mother passed away…”NORMAN! I TOLD YOU THAT GIRL WAS TROUBLE!”
It’s going to be a female replacement, obviously.
He (Obama) has to feel out the conservative “blue dog” Dems and see how much they are going to have his back on this…too radical a nomination, and they may balk…they represent CONSERVATIVE districts and will think about being accountable to their constituents. Without ALL Dems support, he has a tough road to get his nominee approved.
I’d love a young liberal judge on the court, just trying to be realistic…Obama can’t do this on his own, and not every Dem in the senate is a liberal.
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