July 1, 2005

O'Connor resigns!

Thrilling excitement is unleashed!

Here's the text of the resignation:
"This is to inform you of my decision to retire from my position as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, effective upon the nomination and confirmation of my successor. It has been a great privilege indeed to have served as a member of the court for 24 terms. I will leave it with enormous respect for the integrity of the court and its role under our constitutional structure."
This is so much more significant than Chief Justice Rehnquist retiring, because replacing her vote will dramatically change the power balance on the Court.

I am all atremble!

21 comments:

Mr. Lee said...

Holy crap. I think we can say goodbye to ANYTHING getting done in the Senate for the rest of the summer...

Sloanasaurus said...

Get out your checkbooks!

Ann Althouse said...

Mr. Lee: I think the Judiciary Committee will bottle it up for awhile.

Sloanasaurus said...

It will be interesting to see what Mr. Bush does. Will he go straight for the jugular and nominate a conservative?

I think it is a good time to do it. Memories are still fresh on the Consititutional Option.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Some provacative, totally uninformed speculation:

Bush will now come out with a surprisingly aggressive right-wing nomination that HE KNOWS WILL FAIL. He'll fight the good fight, and then he will bring out that 'below the radar' female nominee people are talking about or Gonzalez who will pass.

Bush likes to lead with a strong rought, if you will, and nominating a hard-liner will appease his base. When the nomination goes down, it will further mobilize his base's outrage.

Karl Rove has clearly shown that he believes an angry, unsatisfied base is his man's greatest asset.

Mark Daniels said...

There are reasons to dread the ensuing extravaganza, of course.

It should be said however, that Harry Reid has been sending signals to the White House about conservative jurists he feels would win easy Senate confirmation, including Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio. He would win easy Senate approval, as would Senator Hatch, I think.

Rigid ideologues of various persuasions--let's be honest, there are several different stripes of "conservatives" these days--will wish to insist on an ideologically-vetted nominee who promises never to change her or his mind about anything, nor grow in wisdom or knowledge. That could gum up the works considerably.

But a nominee who comes from the Senate and has a strong judicial background, even if of more conservative bent--as is true of both DeWine and Hatch--would, I think, be welcomed by almost everyone. My sense is that with few exceptions, most people want to avoid a debilitating partisan train wreck in any confirmation process.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Correction: Bush likes to lead with a Strong RIGHT, not strong ROUGHT. Sorry.

Gerry said...

Pass the popcorn.

May the new nominee be qualified, a person of integrity and restraint, respectful of our Constitution and the separation of powers, and endowed with the type of character that can endure what is undoubtably going to be an ugly, ugly confirmation process.

dax said...

How important is it that Bush nominates a woman?
I have to believe that he needs to.
Bring a seatbelt. This could get rough!

Sean said...

For social conservatives, this will be the big one, because it will actually change the balance of the court w/r/t Roe. I expect Michael McConnell: as reliably anti-Roe as one could be, but personally popular with the left/liberal academics who normally supply the intellectual firepower to derail conservative nominations.

leeontheroad said...

I guess it would be too much to hope for a John Danforth nomination, eh?

Goesh said...

Bush will go for the jugular when Rheinquist steps down, which will be very soon - Antonin will step up to the plate and still go duck hunting with Dick Cheney.

Baronger said...

The main stream media, are like a bunch of sharks cicling this story. Any drop of blood or rumour of blood was bound to set them into a feeding frenzy. With the exception of the Aruba story, there are no huge stories going on. They were impatient for the next whale of a story to tear into. Now there is going to be a huge feeding frenzy. It's going to get bloody.

With the last retirement being so long ago, and everyone on both sides have prepared a lot of amunition for the next confirmation battle. I wonder if the justices are aware of this, and want to avoid this happening. As it is this is not the justice we were expecting. But it does look like Bush will get at least two justices and probably 3, since I say that Scouter will go too.

Since O'Connor was often a swing voter, I'm ambivelant. I think I liked about half her decisions. However since I loved her argument on Kelo, I think I have to come down on the side of, "sort of sad to see her go."

It will be interesting to see how the Kelo decision is going to impact on the deliberations, since it was her last major act. Since the decision was so unpopular, I see it as being a major factor. The other major factor, is how the filibuster will apply. I predict that the filibuster of all judges will die as an option.

Going to be an exciting summer of: character assasinations, pontifications, bloody shirt waving, rants, diatribes, debates, essays, yelling, screaming and crassss political manuevering. I don't think we are going to see calm deliberate debate, combined with cool reason. Looks like it's going to be a hot summer.

SteveR said...

Well Roe is a 6-3 issue on the court with O'Conner (except for Nebraska/Partial Birth) so its not "in peril" as some may characterize this nomination. On other issues she has obviously been a swing vote though. But it will get spun by the abortion supporters, trying to keep Stevens on life support, as a threat.

Matt said...

O'Connor actually hurt the chances for a quick confirmation by the terms of her resignation. A powerful weapon would have been the idea that the Court couldn't function with only 8 members (especially where that 9th member is O'Connor), but O'Connor's resignation takes that off the table. I think it's entirely possible O'Connor could be around for much of another term, since she's said she's not leaving until and unless a successor is confirmed.

Salter2000Corp said...

I hear from a lot of well placed friends in the District that Chief Judge Mukasey of the SDNY has the inside track. He's a law and order conservative, originally nominated by Reagan. The thinking is that Rudy Guiliani (a close friend) can sell him to the country as a reasonable guy even if the liberals on the Hill won't buy him.

Sloanasaurus said...

Our country will be better off the day Roe goes down in flames and we return to Judicial sanity.

Abortion supporters will learn that 49 out of 50 states will allow legal abortion and people will go back into their shells because the process will have been fairly decided by a majorty and not be a few old elitest Justices.

Roe is a tragedy for the country.

hoosthere said...

Did you see the instant react from NOW? http://www.now.org

You would think that they would at least pay tribute to one of the most powerful women in jucicial history...but not in this age. More evidence of the splintering, chaotic political rhetoric that makes me so tired.

Mark Daniels said...

Actually, Matt, I understand the terms of O'Connor's resignation letter are pretty much standard-operating-procedure.

Wave Maker said...

Yes Matt -- and besides, the term is over and the new term doesn't begin until October -- her leaving now provides the Senate with the maximum amount of time they possibly coul fhave to ensure that a new justice is in place when the new term begins.

Matt said...

They are standard terms (as I learned after posting the prior comment), but barring a consensus-type appointment like a current/former Senator or an unassailable current judge (e.g., Posner, Kozinski), there's no way in hell there's confirmation much before First Monday, especially given that no one wants to be in DC in August.