The Vacancy: Who Will Be Next to Join the Supreme Court?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Vaderize03, Apr 9, 2010.

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  1. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Howdy all,

    Been awhile since I've posted a topic.

    As I'm sure you've all heard, John Paul Stevens is stepping down, about to turn 90.

    Appointed by a Republican President, Gerald Ford, in 1976, Justice Stevens has turned into the leading liberal voice on the court for the last several decades. Agree or disagree with his philosophies, his departure leaves some very large shoes to fill.

    So, who will Obama pick? A hard and fast liberal, a consensus-building moderate, or a complete wild card? How hard will the republicans fight? Will a battle help or harm the GOP? The dems?

    The shortlist includes such names as Elana Kagan, Dianne Wood, and Merrick Garland, all liberal or centrist-left. Whoever the next justice is, one thing is for certain: it will be a contentious fight.

    Discuss.

    Peace,

    V-03
  2. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    My guess is that Obama will pick someone left of center to some degree, and that Republicans will throw a hissy fit because they'll accept nothing short of tea party supporting conservative.
  3. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    *IF* one doesn't want a knockdown, drag out fight, Obama will need to pick someone moderate/slightly right to appease the minority party.

    I hope he picks someone well qualified myself.

    It's too bad the minority party practically dictates terms and the majority doesn't tell them to suck up - but still, he should pick someone well qualified (and I have no idea who that would be)and not known for any particular partisanship.
  4. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    My vote is for Garland from DC(I think).

    Center-left would satisfy most and would get overwhelming support.

    edit: Garland is actually from Chicago like Stevens.

    He's also been a judge for over a decade.

    He's regarded as the moderate of the three top potential picks: Garland, Kagan, and Wood.

    Wood is the other judge while Kagan lacks judicial experience.
  5. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    There will be a lot of posturing, but ultimately everyone is going to have to be satisfied with an outcome that more or less preserves the status quo on the court.
  6. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I see Obama nominating Diane Wood. She's strong and experienced. She's not tied to the current administration. And I just have a gut feeling about it, like I did with Sonia Sotomayor.


    CNN has a list of top contendors:
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/04/09/supreme.court.vacancy/index.html?hpt=T2

    Janet Napolitano, not yet.
    Elena Kagan, not yet.
    Eric Holder, NO.
    Deval Patrick, NO.
    Ann Claire William, maybe (but seems like a weaker choice).
    Jennifer Granholm, maybe.
    Merrick Garland, maybe.



    Remember, Stevens has been the leading liberal on the Court for a long time.

    Even if Obama and the Senate pass a liberal, the Court will probably still shift a little to the right.



    Also, Ginsburg will probably retire soon too. Obama could still have 1-3 more appointments after this.
  7. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Actually, a decent fight might just:

    a) energize dispirited democrats

    and

    b) chase independents away from the GOP to at least some degree as the social warrior wing of the party becomes its' face for as long as the battle lasts. The GOP needs to broaden its' tent right now, and scaring off socially moderate, fiscally conservative independents won't be good for the them.

    Garland is the "safe" choice, no argument there. Until Kennedy retires, the makeup of the court won't change, and short of unforseen circumstances, none of the conservatives are going anywhere while Obama is in the White House.

    Peace,

    V-03
  8. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    I don't know anything about any of the contendors on the short list, but I'm thinking that how left the person will be, might depend on when the confirmation hearings take place. If they take place after mid-terms, he might have to pick someone more centrist. I don't know that the Democrats will lose the House or Senate in mid-terms but I think they'll lose seats.
  9. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    No, he'll push for confirmation before mid-terms. The battle will take weeks; if it takes months, the GOP will look like obstructionists, weakening their criticism of such behavior by congressional dems during the Bush years and continuing a bad precedent. Generally, the longer it goes, the more fired up the dems' base will become. The GOP base is already there; the dems need something to rally around, and this may be it.

    Peace,

    V-03
  10. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    I agree with Ghost though. Even if the top liberal pick were confirmed, it's highly unlikely that person would already have Steven's gift for rallying majority coalitions on the court.

    So I expect a very slight tilt to the right no matter who is confirmed just due to the loss of clout Stevens had on the court.

    So if I were the GOP, I would tread lightly on whomever he picks because it's very likely that person will not reach the prominence of Stevens anytime soon, if ever.
  11. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Pulled this off MSN home page with proper citations:


    By MARK SHERMAN

    updated 9:46 a.m. PT, Sat., April 10, 2010
    WASHINGTON - Republicans are promising a "whale of a fight" during the congressional election campaign if President Barack Obama picks too liberal a nominee to succeed retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens


    Heck, no one is even nominated yet yet some are already promising a fight.
  12. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    There's always a fight, especially if said nominee has an illegal nanny, or something else equally major. :rolleyes:
  13. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Their whale will be sunk.

    Independents will be solidly reminded why they defected the GOP in the first place.

    They do this at their own risk. Either way, they are screwed. The next time they are in the majority, they are giving the dems license to oppose any nominee on idealogical grounds.

    Stevens was pretty liberal, I'm not sure how they would define "too liberal". To the left of Limbaugh, maybe?

    Peace,

    V-03
  14. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1998
    star 9
    The general yardstick issue is abortion.
  15. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Which is legal and unlikely to change.

    While more americans have come to define themselves as "pro-life" in the past several years, a solid majority still support legal abortion in the first trimester but are just personally opposed.

    The GOP loves to run with this ball, but personally, I think it will come back and bite them. Their abortion stance in part keeps moderates such as myself away from the party.

    Peace,

    V-03
  16. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    Justice Stevens is the only Protestant on the Supreme Court, and there are six Catholics. I feel it is important he be replaced by another Protestant, in order to have a court that is (somewhat) reflective of American demographics.
  17. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Nonsense. The court should be based off of their judicial experience and I can accept that there will be political overlap between the judge and the president appointing them, but basic demographics shouldn't be a factor in this. It's the Supreme Court, they should be some of the top legal minds, not a thumbnail summary of the US Census.
  18. anakin_girl Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2000
    star 6
    I have to agree with that. I hope that among all the factors that Obama will consider, race, ethnicity, gender, or religious preference will not be among them.
  19. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    You want quotas on the judiciary? :confused:

  20. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    On the other hand, it's silly to pretend that great minds spring up de novo, in a way that allows them to be completely aseptic, detached and objective. To some extent, we are all affected by our life experiences, and those experiences are shaped in significant part by demographic issues like race and sex. While we should try to fight against the undue of influences of our biases, that also means, as Justice Sotomayor eloquently pointed out, being aware of them. It would be inappropriate to let real biases develop on the Court because, in blind pursuit of the ideological position that "the Supreme Court is never biased" we failed to look at the ways in which it might be. In a quite separate but related manner, a diversity of viewpoints and experiences helps to enrich decision-making and deliberation so that we arrive at a better outcome.
  21. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I would say that the only relevant part is ideological balance, though. Which is based on their views, not other characteristics. I would outright disagree that we can tell how someone will be as a judge based on race or gender. All I'm concerned with is their views.

    Similarly, so long as I think there's balance in how they view law, I'm not going to be up in arms complaining that while around 16% of Americans are not affiliated with any religion, all 9 justices are members of religions. I really don't care so long as their approach to the law is fair. It's utterly meaningless what they do in their personal lives so long as they handle the law well, and I think religion is one such example of that, and I would say that has a far greater influence on how someone thinks than race or gender.
  22. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    From a historical standpoint, that's insufficient. People have a way, especially where cultural blind spots are concerned, of suddenly abandoning the logical conclusions of their espoused beliefs. John Stuart Mill, for instance, in spite of his tremendous humanism and liberality, still believed on the issue of colonialism and freedom for non-Europeans that "The sacred duties which civilized nations owe [. . .] are not binding towards those to whom nationality and independence are certain evil, or at best a questionable good." And yet, one perhaps imagines that if his background were different--if he, perhaps hailed from these dispossessed masses--it might have been a more difficult pronouncement to sustain. Or, closer to home, look at how the Supreme Court handled gender discrimination law suits before women joined the Court.
  23. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    I think that gender and race and past experiences can be part of the whole package of determining factors, but it shouldn't be the main factor or even the secondary one.

    But the idea of "oh, we lost one WASP on the court, another must take his place" is silly.

    But yes, it would be nice to have a SCOTUS more reflective of the nation, but race and gender aren't the only things reflecting its citizens..
  24. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Agreed, shaner. I'd by no means argue that it should be the dominant criteria. Mostly I was pushing back against the notion people were expressing that it was wholly inappropriate. I think it should be one of many factors considered. Further, while I think a more diverse court is a better one, I'm not arguing for a direct representational model or demanding substitutions.
  25. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Nebraska passed a law today banning abortion after the 20th week, claiming the fetus can then feel pain.

    The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists hotly disputes this statement, since there is little scientifically acceptable evidence supporting that fact.

    The above aside, the law is perfectly designed to get up to the Supreme Court, which will likely break down on the issue like this:

    a) The conservative four will find the "process" of the legislature's vote controlling, and uphold the law

    b) The liberal four (Breyer/Ginsburg/Sotomayor/Stevens) will vote against it, calling it an "undue burden on a woman's right to choose" and going with the science backed the American College of Obstetricians/Gynecologists.

    c) Kennedy is anybody's guess.

    What is even more interesting will be how long it takes to fill Stevens' seat. If the GOP sees a chance for more "energizing of the base" by holding up the nominee on this issue (even more than so now than is already guaranteed), then there is a chance that this case (which will almost certainly be expedited to the high court) could be heard by only eight justices, if Stevens leaves before his replacement is confirmed. That would result in four conservative votes to three liberal ones, with Kennedy producing a solid majority if he sides with the Roberts' bloc and a tie if he sides with the liberal bloc.

    It's all conjecture, of course, but I have to wonder just whom an abortion fight will hurt more-the dems, or the GOP. As I stated previously, I think the right is risking pushing away newly won independents on this issue, as most independents poll as socially moderate to left-of-center, but conservative on size-of-government and fiscal matters.

    On a completely different note, I have to wonder what the country would be like if the Supreme Court, by law, were to be made up of four solid liberals, four solid conservatives, and one swing vote at all times. Would be interesting, indeed.

    Peace,

    V-03
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