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Breaking: Barack Obama to get his First Supreme Court Appointment

NPR has learned that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire at the end of the court's current term.

At 69, Souter is nowhere near the oldest member of the court, but he has made clear to friends for some time now that he wanted to leave Washington, a city he has never liked, and to return to his native New Hampshire.

Now, according to reliable sources he has decided to take the plunge and has informed the White House of his decision.

Souter's retirement would give President Obama his first appointment to the high court, and most observers expect that he will appoint a woman.

So, who do you think Obama will nominate? There are many, many radical leftists out there that he could nominate. We already have a feel for what kind of judges he likes:

President Obama's first appellate nominee, Judge David Hamilton of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, has a long résumé of activism that suggests clearly where his "empathy" lies. His first job, fresh out of college, was as a fundraiser for the Philadelphia branch of ACORN, the "community-organizing" group that has been accused of serial election fraud. He later served as a board member, and vice president for litigation, of the Indiana ACLU. And it is very much ACORN/ACLU/Obama-style "empathy" on display in Hamilton's judicial opinions.

Lorie adds: Could the Specter switch make it harder for Obama to get the nominee of his choice? Here is an interesting analysis from William Jacobson.

Everyone, including me, has been blogging about how Specter defecting to the Democrats puts the Democrats close to a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, potentially allowing Obama to push through his agenda. And this seems true on most subjects.

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?
So, if Specter were still in the minority, he would likely have been that vote. Instead he is now in the majority. Don't celebrate yet though, Lindsey Graham is on the committee.

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Comments (30)

Gird your loins, indeed. O... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Gird your loins, indeed. Oh the humanity!

Anyone with an ACORN or ACL... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Anyone with an ACORN or ACLU background will be in the running. He might even nominate Bill Ayers.

So now we'll have some "rad... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

So now we'll have some "radical" judges from the left to balance all those "radical" judges from the right appointed during the Bush Regime. Isn't our republic a wonderful thing?

Justice Souter was a disast... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Justice Souter was a disaster. It's one thing to be useless and brainless, but being useless, brainless, and oblivious is a terrible combination.

But elections have consequences, and now President Obama gets to pick another empty-headed statist utopian demigod to replace him - maybe a clone of Justice Ginsberg. Gag.

Note the Souter: When you retire, don't go back to New Hampshire. Many of us would appreciate it if you'd call someplace else "home". How about California?

Just when did reading the c... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Just when did reading the constitution and deciding it means what it says become radical?

My vote goes to Hillary for... (Below threshold)
retired military:

My vote goes to Hillary for being the Supreme court justice.

It is certainly clear that ... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

It is certainly clear that the second 100 days has gotten off to a bad start.

My bet: Judge Stephen Reinh... (Below threshold)

My bet: Judge Stephen Reinhardt

Maybe an old, unqualified c... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Maybe an old, unqualified crony like Harriet Miers?

Hold on to your copy of the... (Below threshold)

Hold on to your copy of the Constitution people, it's gonna be a rough ride.
http://www.rightklik.net

My vote goes to Hi... (Below threshold)
Brett:
My vote goes to Hillary for being the Supreme court justice.

That would have been a good way (from the President Pinhead perspective) to get rid of her for good, but I think the Secretary of State has pretty well done that already.

What's scary is that Bill Ayers *isn't* obviously out of the running.

It was a nice country, shame it's gone.

my bet: Fidel & Raul Cas... (Below threshold)

my bet: Fidel & Raul Castro

I know, I know...it's two people for one SCOTUS position and they're not citizens.
But hey, the Constitution is flexible, and this would be SO HIP...and SO Obama!!!!

The teleprompter is the mos... (Below threshold)
914:

The teleprompter is the most likely candidate..

Well folks, we are in deep ... (Below threshold)
Glenn Cassel AMH1(AW) USN Retired:

Well folks, we are in deep shit now. The obambozo gets to pick a supreme court justice and that pick will be somewhere to the left of Marx/Lenin/Engels/Alinsky.

"So, who do you think Obama... (Below threshold)
bryanD:
This won't change the ideol... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

This won't change the ideological make-up of the court. Conservatives will still hold a 5-4 majority to strike down the civil liberties of the average citizen and allow police overly broad powers.

"Conservatives will stil... (Below threshold)
914:

"Conservatives will still hold a 5-4 majority to strike down civil liberties and allow police overly broad powers."

Thats funny... Because thats what Obamas doing now. And He's not even using the courts.

This won't change ... (Below threshold)
Brett:
This won't change the ideological make-up of the court. Conservatives will still hold a 5-4 majority to strike down the civil liberties of the average citizen and allow police overly broad powers.

Which of your civil liberties have been struck down, and what overly broad police powers have you noted? Please, be specific, you seem to be an expert and I would like to learn something.

GarandFan</... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

GarandFan

It will definitely be a Sista!

It was a nice coun... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
It was a nice country, shame it's gone.

True. It's pretty much been outsourced. They just have to take down the backdrops and pack the circus tents, then it's "happy trails..."

"...to strike down the civi... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"...to strike down the civil liberties of the average citizen..."

Oh, you mean the civil liberties that were stricken down at the turn of the century? Where have you been? You should have been able to tell thirty years ago that something wasn't quite right.

It was a nice country, s... (Below threshold)
Justice58:

It was a nice country, shame it's gone.


You talking about what George Bush did, right? Yes I know, he ran the country into the ground, tarnished our image to the rest of the world and put us in the worse economic crisis ever.

George Bush has NO shame!

Obama should have an essay ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Obama should have an essay contest. What part of the Constitution can you convincingly interpret to make this happen:

"But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf." ~Barack Obama 2001

Whom ever can argue for redistributive reform to his satisfaction gets the job!

Then the transformation of America will be more firmly planted on the track to Utopia by "making those wealthy bastards pay". The term "wealthy" may have to be re-defined along the way, but hey, "it's for the good of the country".
---------------------
Oh, and I feel sad for you Justice58.

Who was that idiot professo... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Who was that idiot professor with the pony tail. THe one that got fired for plagurism.

Well, one thing we know, hi... (Below threshold)
John:

Well, one thing we know, his nomination has a 50/50 chance of having paid their taxes...

Actually, a moderate will b... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Actually, a moderate will be appointed. The democrats are going toe experience the frustration that Specter brought to the republican party. There will be no filibuster proof majority on this. ww

Obama picking a liberal jus... (Below threshold)
TOhio:

Obama picking a liberal justice is a foregone conclusion. It's a matter of how liberal the person will be.

If he goes too far left, Obama will show his true radical leanings and this might help to WAKE UP more Americans from their Obama stupor that is ruining the country.

Thankfully we'll be replaci... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Thankfully we'll be replacing a radical leftist with a radical leftist. Of course, that means "centrist" according to ABC, NBC, CNN vocabulary charts. Evidently David found a new boyfried who wanted him to give up the judge business.

Ooooh, gay jokes, OldPuppy!... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Ooooh, gay jokes, OldPuppy! Yeah, Souter's a fag!

Anyway, I think you're right, Willie: I think Obama will nominate a moderate liberal--i.e., someone who has no intention of, say, limiting your right to bear arms, but also no intention of ever overturning Roe v. Wade. A normal, mainstream jurist--a bit to the right of Ginsburg, but a few miles to the left of Scalia and Thomas.

And then he'll get to do the same thing twice more during his presidency.

Would McCain have done it any differently?

Paul makes this comment:</p... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Paul makes this comment:

This won't change the ideological make-up of the court. Conservatives will still hold a 5-4 majority to strike down the civil liberties of the average citizen and allow police overly broad powers.

Unfortunately the worst attacks on civil liberties and allowing overly broad police powers are being forced on us by liberals.

Take, for example US v. Lopez. The majority - thank God - held that the 10th Amendment actually exists. It was the liberal minority that held that there are no limits to Federal police power. It was the first of several Supreme Court decisions or dissenting opinions that attempted to re-draw the lines of Federalism based on foreign court decisions. If liberals get to become a majority, there will be no limits to Federal police power.

Concerning attacks on civil liberties, several decisions come to mind. The most basic being the attacks on property rights codified by Kelo v. City of New London. For the good of the community, the SCOTUS held that state and local government can seize property from one party and give it to another, and that passes for "public use".

But the real danger here is the chaos that is constantly being promoted by liberal judges. Conservatives are generally trying to preserve the nature of the law as it is or to restore it to what it once was. Given that the Republic has done pretty well over the last 200 years and change, that seems to be a pretty good thing. That isn't good enough for many liberal judges:

1. In decisions like Lopez, they ignore black-letter law and attempt to focus on the ends. The presumption being that very good ends justify any means - even if it does not make any sense and even if the means can't show any positive effects.
2. In decisions like Lawrence v. Texas and various death penalty cases, liberal judges are citing domestic and international public opinion polls. They are literally getting guidance on their interpretation of the Constitution based on public opinion.
3. In decisions like Lawrence, they throw out long-standing legal precedents for legal review and judicial restraint, in favor of getting to what they want. Abandoning that concept opens the door to constantly overturning and re-investigating old torts in light of public opinion.
4. In numerous decisions, liberals contradict themselves. In various abortion cases involving parental notification, liberals held that under-aged girls were completely capable of making the medical decisions regarding an abortion (even if the parents are on the hook for the medical bills if anything goes wrong), but in capital punishment cases (e.g. Ropper v. Simons), liberals found that under-aged violent offenders were not fully capable of understanding the consequences of their actions to commit murders.
5. And finally, as liberal judges insert themselves and their personal opinions into every aspect of the Law and - at the same time tear down any barriers that used to prevent them from re-making the Law as they see fit, then we as a country will loose of basic freedoms as we become the slaves of the judges who have taken it upon themselves to decide for us what is right and what is wrong. When the checks and balances in our system are replaced by the personal opinions of a judges appointed for life, our civil rights are in grave danger.

Consider Justice Stevens' foolish dissent in Baze v. Rees. It's idiotic on its face, and you don't have to be a legal scholar to see the holes in it. Even liberals who are opposed to the death penalty will read it and wince. Justice Scalia, in a separate opinion, takes Steven's apart - item by item. He points out that Steven's openly admits the he, personally, is opposed to the death penalty, and that is his starting point and conclusion. (What comes in between - the process - is irrelevant.)

[Quoting from Steven's own words] "

I have relied on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty" is unconstitutional. ...

Purer expression cannot be found of the principle of rule by judicial fiat. In the face of JUSTICE STEVENS' experience, the experience of all others is, it appears, of little consequence. The experience of the state legislatures and the Congress--who retain the death penalty as a form of punishment--is dismissed as "the product of habit and inattention rather than an acceptable deliberative process." Ante, at 8. The experience of social scientists whose studies indicate that the death penalty deters crime is relegated to a footnote. Ante, at 10, n. 13. The experience of fellow citizens who support the death penalty is described, with only the most thinly veiled condemnation, as stemming from a "thirst for vengeance." Ante, at 11. It is JUSTICE STEVENS' experience that reigns over all.




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