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Here Come Da Next Judge

It's often overlooked that the assassination attempt against Representative Giffords claimed six lives. And one of those who died -- who, it turns out, gave his life protecting others -- was Federal Chief Judge John Roll.

And while it might seem crass to bring this up, Roll's death opens a vacancy on the bench that needs to be filled. Which means that a new judge needs to be nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate.

This raises an interesting political and ethical question: Roll was a Republican, and his term of office was brutally cut short. Does President Obama have some kind of moral obligation to appoint another judge in the same mold?

Of course, legally, he does not. The president's authority to nominate judges has no Constitutional limits, no requirements for any kind of ideological litmus test or even competence or experience. And the Senate is still Democratically controlled (barely), which means that as long as Obama's nominee is not too ravingly leftist to trigger a Republican filibuster, he or she should be confirmed.

Traditionally, the president takes "suggestions" from the Senators who represent the district in question. This raises a slight problem for Obama, as the two Senators who represent Roll's district -- the District of Arizona -- are Republicans (well, for the most part): John McCain and John Kyl.

And Obama can't turn to the governor, either. Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, is also a Republican -- and Obama's Justice Department is currently suing her and her state over their illegal immigration law.

Obama happens to have Brewer's Democratic predecessor, Janet Napolitano, as his Secretary of Homeland Security, but consulting with her -- at least officially -- could be awkward.

The best solution would be to find a relatively apolitical Arizona judge who has respect from both sides, and put him or her up for Roll's seat.

But that flies in the face of similar examples. For example, when Thurgood Marshall retired from the Supreme Court, President Bush (the first one) was pressured to appoint another black to the seat. Which he did by nominating Clarence Thomas -- which still gives the Left hives. And when Sandra Day O'Connor left the bench, the second President Bush was pressed -- hard -- to name another woman (presumably to keep the money the Court spent on a Justice's Lady's Room from going to waste, so to speak) to succeed her. He resisted, tapping Samuel Alito, but President Obama has made up for it by nominating two women at his first two opportunities.

By that argument (championed by Democrats), Judge Roll's seat should go to a Republican. Especially in light that he didn't retire or resign in disgrace or even pass away of natural or accidental causes, but was murdered. If it weren't for the Tucson shooting, he'd still be on the bench today. To nominate a Republican would be to simply continue the way things should have played out.

As I said, I don't agree with that argument. But it's certainly consistent with the precedent the Democrats tried to push.

Let's see if they hold to the same standard when it isn't to their benefit.

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Comments (11)

"Let's see if they hold to ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Let's see if they hold to the same standard when it isn't to their benefit."

Optimist!

I'm thinking left-leaning Hispanic activist. You know, give the area "balance".

"Does President Obama have ... (Below threshold)
Maddox:

"Does President Obama have some kind of moral obligation to appoint another judge in the same mold?" Strange that you would even ask that question at this point.
Most of the actions of his administration are morally bankrupt, but Obama views all his decisions as moral. The trouble is, his views are slanted so far to the left he cannot see they are not right. (pun intended)

"Let's see if they hold to ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Let's see if they hold to the same standard when it isn't to their benefit."

That's not being an optimist. That's being a fool. For the dems it's always heads they win, tails we lose. Bipartisanship is letting them have their way when they are the minority and STFU when they are the majority.

obama will appoint some far left Hispanic crank like GarandFan said.

Let's see--Elena Kagen was ... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

Let's see--Elena Kagen was an utterly unqualified appointment who had never been a judge, who had never tried a case, and who had almost never even seen the inside of a courtroom as an advocate until Obama appointed her Solicitor General. Her resume showed that Kagen had, as a government official, called the NRA "bad guys," had advocated limits on Free Speech, and, as Dean of Harvard Law, barred military recruiters from campus as some sort of political statements.

As bad as Kagen was, Sotomayor was worse. Her philosophy has been to bring her personal prejudices to her judicial decisions. Her comments have shown an underlying racism (wise Latina) and that she believes the role of appellate judges is to make policy.

Neither one of these women should have been allowed within a mile of the Supreme Court building. They were appointed by Obama only to earn him political capital.

This is the "standard" being used.

President Bush (the firs... (Below threshold)
john:

President Bush (the first one) was pressured to appoint another black to the seat... the second President Bush was pressed -- hard -- to name another woman... By that argument (championed by Democrats), Judge Roll's seat should go to a Republican.

No, by that argument, Roll's seat should go to a white male.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your intent in switching that up was to be deceptive. The alternative is that you're so stunningly crass as to equate race and gender with political affiliation.

This raises an interesti... (Below threshold)
Woop:

This raises an interesting political and ethical question: Roll was a Republican, and his term of office was brutally cut short. Does President Obama have some kind of moral obligation to appoint another judge in the same mold?

What say we apply the "what would John "cry baby" Boehner do?" test?

Is there one single active GOP politician active today who appoint an opposition party judge?

No, not a single one.

What a mornic post. Are you 12 years old?

"What a mornic post. Are yo... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"What a mornic post. Are you 12 years old?"

Given all the bull shit you've posted, we've long suspected that, at most, you MIGHT be 10 years old.

Does President Oba... (Below threshold)
Does President Obama have some kind of moral obligation to appoint another judge in the same mold?

Let's not even go here. The lefties pull this shit every time there's a SCOTUS vacancy during a Republican presidency. "Oh look, a liberal judge has retired. The president has to appoint a liberal replacement."

Whether we like it or not, Obama has the right to appoint whomever he chooses. That's the law, and the tragic death of the previous judge is not a good enough reason to mess with it.

Spirited hatred of blacks, ... (Below threshold)
Marco Polo:

Spirited hatred of blacks, Hispanics, and women so far.

What, nothing left for the Injuns?

Bush initially nominated Ha... (Below threshold)
JustJohn:

Bush initially nominated Harriet Myers to replace O'Connor.

"Let's see if they hold to ... (Below threshold)
Jim:

"Let's see if they hold to the same standard when it isn't to their benefit."

They never hold to any standard that isn't to their benefit. As a matter of fact, the concept of standards at all is probably alien to them.




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