Remove one Supreme Court justice

You are given a magical wand which allows you to cause one justice on the Supreme Court to decide tomorrow they are retiring.

Yes this means Obama gets to pick a successor (hence the choice “None of Them”).

I wanted to make a poll if your choice would change if Bush were president and could choose the successor but I couldn’t make it work reasonably well. So we go with Obama cuz he’s the guy in office currently.

You have no idea who Obama will pick as a replacement. You take your chances.

Reasons are welcome.


I chose Thomas.

I really, really dislike Scalia but I think he does it because he believes in it. Gotta give the guy points for the courage of his convictions…no matter how fucked up they are. Thomas does it because he is a paid toady (or maybe he believes it too but is cynical enough to profiteer from it).

Thomas has not spoken a word from the bench in 5 years, his wife is thoroughly in the pocket of conservative groups and they manged to not report that (as required by law) for years.

Not a fan of his opinions either (nor do I like Scalia’s but if I had to have an advocate argue to save my life I’d choose Scalia over Thomas in a heartbeat…probably choose Scalia over all that lot if my life were on the line…still hate him).


Any reason?

I don’t really see why that’s such a big deal, though, because most Justices don’t speak much from the bench. In the Rehnquist and Roberts courts, the justices have, but that’s an anomaly…we’ve had some unusually chatty justices over the past 25 years. Thomas spends most of his time on the bench whispering and passing notes to Breyer.

But generally, if you want to get rid of a conservative on the court, it doesn’t tactically make sense to get rid of Thomas. Thomas’s opinions tend to be so far out there and his method of judicial analysis so unique that he really doesn’t have any influence on the court.

Sure. Roberts is young (he’s 55). He’s aggressive in oral argument, he’s a consensus builder, and he’s the Chief, which means he’s got a lot of say in terms of who writes decisions.

They all have equal votes so not sure how much power deciding who writes a decision wields. I did not think, power-wise, a Chief Justice was notably beyond an Associate. In this I have no clue though so could be wrong (and am curious).

And Consensus builder? I asked a question here awhile back (will look it up if you want) that asked if the justices debate cases before voting. The answer was pretty strong that that have very little to do with each other. There is no wandering office to office to build a vote. They hear arguments. Retire to their offices and render their opinions. Apparently in almost total isolation from one another.

I kind of have the feeling that the justices have big egos and all of them know their vote even before they hear oral arguments. They then give us some judicial theater and badger the attorneys cuz its fun and what you do ala a law professor challenging students. In the end though do you think oral arguments before the court have ever swayed any justice? (I did hear it suggested that one of the last time Thomas spoke was on a racial issue and his vehemence may have swayed the court but then he was on the bench when he did it so other justices may have deferred some).

I was dismayed they did not have bull sessions and hope that is not the case but that was the opinion of the SDMB hive mind which I generally trust.

Roberts being young (relatively speaking) has merit since one would suppose some justices by virtue of age cannot remain much longer. Good strategy there.

My answer too, plus he is very conservative and seems to value corporations over people.

Yeah, like this outcome wasn’t predictable.

I said none, for the record.

Well perhaps but some is a but unavoidable.

Kagan and Sotomayor are new. We just have very little to go on for them.

That makes it unfair to the rest as people won’t likely pick them since there is no data.

But that is just how it is and worked out. I could have waited 5 years to ask the question so we had some basis for them but pretty sure I’d forget to ask it (can’t remember what I had for lunch). In five years there might me three more new justices…or none. No telling.

Alito and Roberts are not a whole lot better. Relative noobs as SCOTUS justices go.

That leaves us with Breyer, Ginsburg, Kennedy, Scalia and Thomas with any real resume to sort through.

Being a liberal board not hard to think the hammer will fall on Scalia and Thomas (I am surprised at the votes for Roberts but I guess, seeing this, it makes strategic sense). Frankly I can make good cases for magicking them off the island.

I can only guess you picked “no one” because Obama gets to replace the justice. Personally, given the OP and if I were conservative, I’d toss Ginsburg since Obama has been appointing people arguably more conservative than she is. Get rid of the last true liberal on the court.

As point of fact I picked none because I think the court is fairly well-balanced. They may call it the Roberts Court, but it’s actually Anthony Kennedy that wields the power as the swing vote. I liked Obama’s picks of Kagan and Sotomayor, Sotomayor less so (I would have preferred Cass Sunstein), and he may get one more bite of the apple with Ginsberg.

Do yourself a big favor and never try to guess my politics. You’ll rarely be right. :slight_smile:

Because there is no discernible rationale? Not even one you could explain? :wink:

Oh, there is, but that’s a long, convoluted story better suited for some other time and place. Here it would just be a hijack.

Scalia, by a nose over Thomas.

Scalia. Didn’t even have to think about it. The man gets props for Heller, and that’s it. Thomas would be my second choice.

At least until the Chief Justice grabs the note and reads it out loud in front of the Court.

While I would not want their kind in the majority, I think it’s useful to have intelligent conservative judges on the court such as Roberts and Scalia. If nothing else, they give the “liberals” an incentive to sharpen their arguments on their side of the decisions. Thomas lacks their intelligence, and smells to me of corruption. Plus, with him off the bench, Obama can pick a moderately liberal African American in his place.

Well the fact is that there isnt that much distinguish Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas from one another, judicially speaking. Any one of the Catholic Conservative “I will nibble away at abortion but not overturn Roe v. Wade and lose my Republican Masters their one-issue voters” block would be a good pick for being whisked out to the corn field … I mean, voted off the island.

I’d say there’s a hell of a lot to distinguish the four of them judicially speaking. I mean, I don’t have a really good grasp on Alito’s judicial philosophy, but Thomas, Scalia, and Roberts each come at issues from a really different viewpoint.

I chose Thomas, but that was before reading Captain Amazing’s post re Roberts. I can’t argue with his reasoning.