May 2, 2009

"With such a big Democratic majority in the Senate, Obama could get just about anyone confirmed easily."

"But the Republicans could bleed him some politically if he made an exceptionally controversial pick such as Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals court judge based in New York."

Stuart Taylor Jr. has 12 random thoughts on replacing David Souter. Read the whole thing.

43 comments:

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Obama would probably prefer to make a truly outstanding choice, and if possible a consensus choice. He will not see this as some exercise in political gamesmanship. Obama not try to play politics? I think that is wishful thinking.

But then, he has a tradition of throwing friends under the bus; which group will he throw under the bus this time?

Or, what are the chances he appoints a stealth Scalia clone?

rhhardin said...

The is the theory that goes with ``ideally a woman'' in

There is a big political premium on having a Hispanic -- ideally a woman.

Are women the same as men or not?

If not, why isn't the woman's perspective less suited for the Supreme Court?

rhhardin said...

s.b. What is the theory

The Drill SGT said...

Best Taylor sentence:

Cass Sunstein,...and Garland... would be great choices but for their two crippling disabilities (at least for Obama's first pick): race and gender.

So much for that "Best and Brightest" frame, when it gets in the way of naked quotas.

Just like the White and Hispanic Firefighters case that Sotomayor buried.

JAL said...

"I won."

...if possible a consensus choice.
Why?

Bissage said...

A forward-thinking President Obama would do well to replace Justice Souter with a single meta-Justice comprising 9 sub-Justices.

Issob Morocco said...

The One's comments yesterday about the type of judge he wants is scary even to this person who knows Chicago/Illinois politics. Watch his shock troops (The Nekulturna) start propagating this 'empathy' message.

Again he seeks to lower all to the same level. Socialism. As an idea, we must destroy it, and neutralize those who propagate it. The power of individuals to pick and choose the issues that affect them and take necessary action is what creates the strong weave of this country. 'Feelings' driven decisions are for the naive who abrogate their freedoms for a sense of being part of the group.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Why is Sotomayor exceptionally controversial?

rhardin: Why do you think women are less suited for service on the Supreme Court?

rhhardin said...

@JH

Are you taking the position that women are the same as men, or that they're different?

If they're the same, then they're as good as men for the Supreme Court.

If they're different, then there's a case that needs to be made for ``ideally a woman,'' that women are not worse.

Men are more likely to follow the rules and the consequences be damned, which would be what the role of the Supreme Court is taught as, in my opinion.

Women would be more likely to do anything at all.

MadisonMan said...

Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square
Eternally noble, historically fair;
Who, when you win will always give your back a pat!
Why can't a woman be like that?

traditionalguy said...

Whata circus a selection of Professor Althouse would let loose among the Chattering classes? I would gladly watch those Hearings on Pay per View.

Fred4Pres said...

Come on, when has a liberal appointed a justice and found him or her to be a stealth conservative. It never happens. That is because liberals can smell another liberal (phermones or something).

Conservatives lack the ability. We find smelling each other distasteful.

traditionalguy said...

He could appoint Michelle. Then she will have a job outside the home. Next random thought: appoint Titus and loosen up the writing style of the Dissents.

Peter V. Bella said...

He will appoint someone who will go along with whatever he says. He believes the constitution is an imperfect document and stated so over and over again during his campaign.

Emapthy? Empathy for who? The law has no empathy or sympathy. The law is either consttutional or not. He wants to appoint an activist, not a jurist.

EnigmatiCore said...

I think this pick will, once and for all, settle the debate over exactly where on the political spectrum Obama lies.

Will he nominate a centrist-liberal, a traditional liberal, a hard-liberal, or a radical?

As is obvious, he will be able to get practically anyone he wants confirmed. As such, we are going to get whoever he really wants.

We'll never again have to guess where his heart resides.

hdhouse said...

Yet another conservative "oh brother" moment here. He should what?..appoint a conservative? Are you kidding? For what possible reason other than to pacify the right wing who wants even more and forevermore court control?

Discussions and debate are not fostered by having "like thinking" minds gathered around the table. It isn't agenda either.

It is a mosaic or should be. If you lined up all 9 on a teetertotter it should balance. I would like the ultimate court to effectively represent the "interests" of the consitution to all of us. I didn't abandon my rights or my place just because I decided to be a little more liberal than the mainstream and I certainly didn't abandon it so the uber-right in this country can "get 'er done" based on political persuasion and who whines loudest.

Suck it up for once. Bush got two that frankly make my skin crawl, joing a couple that I think are scourges plus the Harriet Miers fiasco...

Our turn. Ya'betcha.

rhhardin said...

Obviously then we need a woman.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Discussions and debate are not fostered by having "like thinking" minds gathered around the table"

There goes the rationale for forums such as DailyKos and Democratic Underground, and for think-tanks like The Urban Institute or the Brookings Institute...

EDH said...

Yesterday, Instapundit linked to this Legal Insurrection post on the rules of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the party switch of Alen Specter.

But ironically, Specter's defection may give Republicans the ability to filibuster judicial nominees at the Judiciary Committee level, so the nominees never get out of committee.

Huh, you say. Here's the explanation, from Professor Michael Dorf of Cornell Law School at his excellent blog, Dorf on Law, written two days ago before Souter's retirement was in play:

Does Arlen Specter's defection from R to D strengthen the President's hand in Congress? Perhaps overall but not on judicial appointments because breaking (the equivalent of) a filibuster in the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the consent of at least one member of the minority. Before today, Specter was likely to be that one Republican. Now what?The link in Dorf's post is to Congress Matters, which has the Senate Judiciary Committee rule:

IV. BRINGING A MATTER TO A VOTE
The Chairman shall entertain a non-debatable motion to bring a matter before the Committee to a vote. If there is objection to bring the matter to a vote without further debate, a roll call vote of the Committee shall be taken, and debate shall be terminated if the motion to bring the matter to a vote without further debate passes with ten votes in the affirmative, one of which must be cast by the minority.

EnigmatiCore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Invisible Man said...

I think this pick will, once and for all, settle the debate over exactly where on the political spectrum Obama lies. C'mon! Some of you are so crazy that you think Arlen Spector is a liberal. That's odds of you constraining your faux outrage over any pick that Obama makes is molecularly small. I fully expect more intellectually dishonest and rabid sniping from his opposition no matter what he does. After all, that's about all any of you do well.

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Blake said...

It won't matter who the President picks.


Phone lines around Washington began burning this morning as conservative organizations kicked off preparations for the fight over President Obama's eventual Supreme Court nominee.

Associate Justice David Souter's decision to step down at the end of this term has awakened a long-dormant network of conservative organizations that will do their best to augment — and at times pressure — Senate Republican efforts to frame Obama's eventual choice....

Groups like the American Center for Law & Justice, the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary and the Committee for Justice will all prepare background research on potential nominees, setting up the eventual, inevitable attacks on the nominee as a left-wing extremist....
.


Interpretation: It won't matter who Obama picks. You will hear the same attacks anyway, just because it is an Obama pick.

fred said...

I have a rather offbeat idea: why not wait till the choice is made and confirmed instead of playing If/then/perhaps/ and on and on, like tv paid pundits? Praise or badmouth the president when the choice is made instead of endless speculation about why he should do this or that or not do this or that.

Clint said...

Obama should be aggressive in his choice. I think it's entirely to be expected that a president expends political capital on seating a Supreme Court justice. If ever there were a time to make a big, bold choice, now is the time. Republicans can barely find their way to Capitol Hill right now.

EnigmatiCore said...

Invisible Man,

You sure seem angry, and why your anger is directed at me eludes me.

As for Specter, he was obviously liberal for a Republican, and probably falls towards the conservative end of the Democrats. He'll always come towards the center, because that is the way he can keep himself in front of the cameras best.

Invisible Man said...

Egnimaticore,

That's called projection. I'm quite frankly amused by all of the hand wringing. I get angered about stuff like genocide in the Sudan and child poverty rates. Read the posts about "throwing friends under the bus" and "Chicago politics" to ee anger. I find faux outrage and sniping hilarious as a window into the soul of the insecure.

EnigmatiCore said...

I could not agree with you more about the projection.

Here's a hint for you- no hand wringing over here.

Doyle said...

Republicans can't do a goddamn thing.

JAL said...

Why is Sotomayor exceptionally controversial?For one, I think she was involved in trying to bury the New Haven fireman test law suit that is now before the SC.

OhioAnne said...

The 2010 election should be the focus of the Republican Party - not how best to slow down the runaway train now.

If things are swell in 2010, then the Republicans will have to be at the top of their game to get any seats back. That means high quality electable candidates need to be running.

If things aren't swell, then more of those high quality electable candidates will win and President Obama will have a very different last half of his (1st)(only) term.

If the Republican Party runs the yahoos they have been running - and currently occupy any number of seats already - they will get killed in 2010 regardless if things are swell or not.

Snowe (I think) said that the Republican Party was in danger of being a regional party. I say embrace the role of a regional party and build a base back. Nationally, there are going to be few wins anyway. Focus on the 20% of the midterm elections with 80% of the resources and that is where the biggest win will be.

What do I know? I told my Democratic friends they could win in 2004 - as long as they didn't pick a politician who was living in the past. They didn't pay attention either.

Kirby Olson said...

Who is the worst federal judge in the US today?

somefeller said...

Who is the worst federal judge in the US today?Well, this guy might've had a shot at that title, had he not stepped down a few months ago. So, since you are speaking in the present tense, I guess he's out of the running.

I agree with Clint. If you're going to spend political capital on something, it should be something important like a SCOTUS pick. This isn't the time to be timid. Also, political capital isn't something that can't be replenished after you've spent some of it, and winning a tough fight for someone that might beef up your support with an important group (Sotomayor and Hispanics and women?) may have its own benefits.

Ralph said...

Kennedy-appointee Byron White was pretty conservative. Of course, by modern standards, so was Kennedy.

Eric said...

Obama is 100 days into his term. Whatever political "bleeding" he takes over a SC pick will be old, old news by 2010, much less 2012. He can pick whomever he pleases without worrying over the fallout.

I doubt it will be a woman. For one thing, so far he's shown no interest in pandering to feminists. It may be different when Ginsburg retires, but putting a man in this seat doesn't change the gender balance, so if he picks a woman it will be because her political views align well with his.

I can't remember a time when the president had such a free hand with such an important nomination. My guess is even Democrats will be surprised with just how liberal the nominee is.

The Drill SGT said...
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The Drill SGT said...

At one level, a President has the right to appoint any qualified person they desire. (though clearly that is not the position of many Democratic Senators) Ginsburg was and is qualified, even though I dislike her votes.

On the other hand, the GOP should not be shy about asking tough questions of the nominee.

Frodo Potter said...

Ohio Anne, I agree that Republicans need to focus on 2010 and that they need to run the highest quality people. I also think they have too many yahoos. However, is it possible that looking to be a more regional party will produce more yahoos, as opposed to a national party? My thought is that Republicans should worry less about being a regional party or being a national party, and focus more on being a *quality* party.

Henry said...

This article is as good as anything I've read about Souter and his potential successor (with the advantage of being short), though Simon's comment in a previous Althouse post was a wonderful counterpoint to politicized atmosphere that Taylor Jr. lays bare.

Thought 11 is a pretty depressing comment on our age and its president:

Cass Sunstein, the regulatory czar-nominee at the Office of Management and Budget and a brilliant legal scholar who knows Obama very well from the University of Chicago Law School, and Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit would be great choices but for their two crippling disabilities (at least for Obama's first pick): race and gender. Judge David Tatel, the brilliant, sensibly liberal D.C. Circuit judge, has the same two disabilities and is much too old (67). He also happens to be blind..

Presidents kept passing over Learned Hand too, and look what it got them.

OhioAnne said...

Frodo Potter said:"Ohio Anne, I agree that Republicans need to focus on 2010 and that they need to run the highest quality people. I also think they have too many yahoos. However, is it possible that looking to be a more regional party will produce more yahoos, as opposed to a national party? My thought is that Republicans should worry less about being a regional party or being a national party, and focus more on being a *quality* party."

You know, based on the "yahoo-esnesque" of their behavior to date, you are right. The Republicans would probably send even more candidates who were selected solely because they have "paid their dues" for years ... much like they have chosen presidential candidate (Bob Dole, John McCain).

I am looking for a different choice and it won't begin with a national candidate being elected. We need quality people who have served in school board and on city councils elected to Congress - not somebody who sees the seat as a family business to be passes from brother to brother to wife to husband to child.

I am just having a hard time getting worried about this specific seat's replacement. Judge Souter was a Republican appointment as I recall. One never knows FOR SURE how things will go until the person acts. Also the Republicans don't have votes to stop it. I agree that the focus should be on asking the hard questions in the nominating process to create the record. Other than that, not much can be done.

NKVD said...

I think Nifong is available.

Bill Ayers is a good, if too conservative, fit.

Rev. Wright would work.

Jane Fonda needs work.

hdhouse said...

Sarah.....

ya'betcha!

Jeanine said...

"Peter V. Bella said...

He will appoint someone who will go along with whatever he says. He believes the constitution is an imperfect document and stated so over and over again during his campaign.

Emapthy? Empathy for who? The law has no empathy or sympathy. The law is either consttutional or not. He wants to appoint an activist, not a jurist."

Justice is meant to be blind to the sympathies and empathies. However, in this administration, her scales clearly tilted to the left, her sword removed because it's sharpness is to great, and she will be disrobed because she won't be able to see her own nudity and how it will be put on display against the pure activism that is yet to come. Obama hates portions of The Constitution and would rather reshape it to modernity like Al Gore had once said that The Constitution is a living document. Mr. Barely will reap what he's sown with this pick.