Something about which I have opined for years now…posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:17 PM Permalink …is actually happening, meaning I won't have to opine about it anymore, which is good 'cause it makes my head hurt.
What I have opined about since 2004 was this: if John Kerry had won the election that year we would have seen at least one, maybe two, SCOTUS Justices retiring shortly thereafter. As Kerry didn't win I strongly felt there would be no retirements for fear that bush would appoint more radical right people, upsetting the liberal and conservative balance of the court. One or two more appointments by bush could have set back jurisprudence as we used to know it for who knows how long, but probably for a minimum of ten to fifteen years.
Obviously President Obama won the 2008 election, is himself a Harvard Law School graduate (4th in his class), and instructed at Harvard as a professor of law. I don't think anyone but the right-wing mouth-breathers can deny that Obama is a very brainy guy, one that will, I'm sure, appoint some very fine liberals to the court.
And why does this subject come up? Justice David Souter has announced his retirement from SCOTUS, and I would bet even money that he will be followed shortly by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 76 years old, and fighting yet another bout with cancer.
From the NYT:
Justice David H. Souter plans to retire at the end of the term in June, giving President Obama his first appointment to the Supreme Court, four people informed about the decision said Thursday night.I must say that my opining appears to be correct so, to all those who thought I was crazy for opining this very scenario I say, "I was right, you were wrong, and now I have to find something else on which to opine as soon as my head stops hurting."
Justice Souter, who was appointed in 1990 by a Republican president, the first George Bush, but became one of the most reliable members of the court’s liberal wing, has grown increasingly sour on Washington and intends to return to his home state, New Hampshire, according to the people briefed on his plans. One official said the decision might be announced as early as Friday.
The departure will open the first seat for a Democratic president to fill in 15 years and could prove a test of Mr. Obama’s plans for reshaping the nation’s judiciary. Confirmation battles for the Supreme Court in recent years have proved to be intensely partisan and divisive moments in Washington, but Mr. Obama has more leeway than his predecessors because his party holds such a strong majority in the Senate.[…]
“The President has not received a formal communication from Justice Souter,” Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, said Friday morning, “and he deserves the right to make his own announcement.”
But Mr. Obama and his team have been thinking for a long time about whom he might put on the court. Among the people whose names have been floated in recent months are Elena Kagan, whom Mr. Obama named as his solicitor general, and two federal appeals court judges, Sonia Sotomayor and Diane Pamela Wood.
Mr. Obama might feel a need to name a woman, given that the only female justice is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 76.