SCOTUSBlog a buzz with Stevens replacement

With Justice Stevens on the way out, the list of who is on the way in is making the rounds. From SCOTUSblog:

The Wall Street Journal profiles the list of potential nominees under consideration by the White House.  Anne Kornblut and Robert Barnes of the Washington Post discuss the administration’s list here.  ABC Newsreports that the White House plans to select a nominee by early May and briefly profiles some of the candidates on the administration’s short list.  TIME also discusses the short list, as well as the possibility that the next nominee may come from “inside [or] outside [the] judicial monastery.” The Associated Press reports on the “short list” and the possibility that the tea party movement could play a role in opposing the eventual nominee.

The WSJ Law Blog reacts to the AP report, highlighting the White House’s acknowledgement that Hillary Clinton is not on the list of potential nominees; the  Caucus blog of the New York Times, the Washington Post’sVoices, and Politico also discuss Clinton’s absence from the list.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution discusses in greater depth Leah Ward Sears, the former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. AmLaw Daily briefly discusses the possible nominees on the short list, while the Ninth Justice includes a “long list” of potential nominees.  Slate identifiestwenty-one potential nominees and asks readers to vote.

It’s unfortunate that Hillary Clinton didn’t make the list…or, maybe that she did make the list, and was just as quickly removed.  Despite her high negatives amongst the far right, she might actually have been a better Justice than President.  We’ll never know, now.

That Clinton didn’t make the dance card isn’t as big of news to me as what was next:

According to the Ninth Justice, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy met with Justice Stevens and “urged” him to retire in April.   FoxNews.comreports that Stevens’ replacement might set the stage for a “proxy war over the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts.”

Is that even kosher?  Aren’t the Supremes supposed to maintain some sort of separation from the political branches?  I’m just saying…

Meanwhile, Stevens isn’t even out yet, and already the commentators are wondering what effect it will have on future retirements, especially of one of the more conservative justices, such as Scalia.  While Stevens’ departure is unlikely to shake up the court, a conservative departure during the Obama Administration would result in a major change in the make-up of the Court, not to mention a political death match over the replacement between the parties.

At Slate, Rick Hasen comments on the politics surrounding the Stevens retirement, examines the impact of a possible retirement of Justice Antonin Scalia in the coming years, and analyzes the possibility of the conservative court energizing the liberal base for future elections.  “It wouldn’t hurt the president,” Hasen writes, “if the court soon decided a few more 5-4 unpopular decisions, so that the stakes of a conservative Justice retirement are ever clearer to Obama’s supporters on the left.” Ashby Jones, from the WSJ Blog, reacts to Hasen’s article.

In the meantime, SCOTUS experts weigh in on who will succeed Stevens and others weigh the effects of a change on the court.

The National Journal conducted an informal poll of Supreme Court experts, who predicted that current Solicitor General Elena Kagan will be nominated to succeed Stevens, while the Conglomerate suggests that the Republicans’ efforts to block Kagan’s nomination to the D.C. Circuit during the Clinton Administration had, in fact, made her a stronger Supreme Court nominee.  Jess Bravin at the Wall Street Journal writesthat Kagan’s opponents are “homing in on a high-profile stand she took on gay rights as a centerpiece of their opposition” if she is nominated.

TIME reviews the history of Supreme Court appointments, noting that George Washington appointed the most (ten), followed by FDR with nine.

Tuan Samahon at Concurring Opinions discusses campaign finance, judicial elections, and the possible implications of Justice Stevens’ retirement.

In lighter news, The Philadelphia Daily News interviews Justice Alito on his devotion to the Philadelphia Phillies.


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