There's so much pent-up political energy on the verge of release, waiting for a Supreme Court vacancy after all these long years. I wish the Justices felt a sense of responsibility about vacating their seats after a good long sit. Maybe after twenty years, a Justice should be saying: I've had my go at this. Time to rotate out and give someone else a shot. Time to give the political world a chance to express itself again by choosing someone new.
But they hold on so long. Who knows why? They think they own their seat in some special, personal way? They think no one else can do it quite so well? They willfully oppose giving the political forces an opening to affect the Court?
It's become so amazingly abnormal to replace a Supreme Court Justice that I worry about how foolish and combative we will be about it. Here's Elisabeth Bumiller's account of how, "Like hostile nations on the edge of apocalypse, Washington's political right and left are on code red over a Supreme Court vacancy that does not yet exist."