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Friday, July 01, 2005

This will be ugly


Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court and a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, said Friday she is retiring. O'Connor, 75, said she expects to leave before the start of the court's next term in October, or whenever the Senate confirms her successor. There was no immediate word from the White House on who might be nominated to replace O'Connor. It's been 11 years since the last opening on the court, one of the longest uninterrupted stretches in history. O'Connor's decision gives President Bush his first opportunity to appoint a justice.
There is little doubt that whoever Bush nominates for the Supreme Court there will be the equivalent of a bare knuckles brawl over the confirmation. Bush will probably be helped politically in this battle by the Kelo decision, as this has focused a lot of attention on the Supreme Court and it is pretty clear that the more liberal members of the court voted in favor of the seizures while the more conservative ones were generally opposed. Democrats probably have less room to maneuver on this issue than they would like.


Anonymous Bob Morris said...

Interestingly enough, I commented recently that there would be a huge mess should William Rehnquist retire. I agree with you on the long road ahead with O'Connor stepping down, but it may not be as long because you have a rather moderate judge stepping down. O'Connor never seemed to be staunchly on one side of the political spectrum.

Now if Rehnquist steps down, there's going to be more problems because he's the Chief Justice. I certainly wouldn't mind having Clarence Thomas (who I have a lot of respect for because he does his homework when deciding cases) succeed Rehnquist as Chief Justice, but I figure if he were nominated, certain Congressmen would be looking for another Anita Hill... for both Thomas and the guy who would take his seat.

7/01/2005 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Heard an amusing commment from a well-known radio host this morning. His response to this? Nominate Janet Rodgers Brown. After all, she's already been filibustered by the Dems. There's just not a leg to stand on with their "extraordinary circumstances" agreement.

7/01/2005 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger honestpartisan said...

How about this leg to stand on ... she's had no experience as an appellate judge yet.

7/01/2005 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Bob, I think you are mistaken as to which will provoke the bigger fight, Rehnquist or O'Connor. A conservative replacement to Rehnquist will maintain the status quo. A conservative replacement to O'Connor will shift the balance somewhat. If Stevens were to retire on a Republican President's watch it would be an even bigger fight.

Chief Justice is mostly a ceremonial position, and for that reason it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.

HP: She certainly has expirience as an appellate judge, just not as a federal appellate judge. There is no requirement for a Supreme Court Judge to have served on the Federal Appellate level (or even to be a Judge, as the potential for Gonzales being chosen shows.)

7/01/2005 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger honestpartisan said...

Whoops, you're right, my bad, I was thinking of someone else.

There's no requirement that anyone be a federal appellate court judge, it's true. I was thinking about political reasons for opposition to her, not legal requirements.

7/01/2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Random Gemini said...

At this stage, after she's gone through so many interrogations by senators to be picked up by a federal court, what possible political argument could there be against Rodgers Brown other than the fact that she's black and a conservative?

7/01/2005 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cubicle said...

" Bob, I think you are mistaken as to which will provoke the bigger fight, Rehnquist or O'Connor. "

dave you are correct on this.

"what possible political argument could there be against Rodgers Brown other than the fact that she's black and a conservative?"

she a woman - you can't trust em.

7/01/2005 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Bob Morris said...

Yes, Dave, the more I think about, you are correct. I guess I was just thinking about the circus that surrounded Clarence Thomas when he first came up for nomination and, since he's the guy I think would get the Chief Justice nomination when Rehnquist steps down, that something similar could happen.

That being said, I'm sure as soon as Bush names his nominee to replace O'Connor, the opposition will look for whatever they can to bring the nominee down.

And honestly, looking at O'Connor's track record, she has been the swing vote on issues such as abortion, but she's been pretty conservative on other issues. Maybe not the ones that liberals consider to be the big issues that come before the court, though.

7/01/2005 02:32:00 PM  

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