Souter to retire- let the speculation begin!

“WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to retire, sources told NBC News Thursday night.”

He’s been on the bench about 19 years now.

Who will be nominated to replace him?

And what do you think Souter’s legacy is? He sure was a big surprise to those who hired him assuming he’d be a strong conservative voice on the bench.

Heh, the day after the GOP looses their ability to filibuster his replacement.

Politics does not stop just because we have fewer seats. Senators and President Obama have to seek reelection, and the Supreme Court may well be an issue.

Well, the chance that the next supreme judge was going to be selected by (I’m so great on choosing people like Palin) McCain was one of the reasons why I voted for Obama.

As the few republicans will predictably attempt to prevent the nomination of anyone that even smells like a moderate, I expect that the “no” show they will put will remind all people about of how out of touch the fewer remaining republicans are.

Before the election, a professor of mine predicted an Obama victory, followed quickly by Stevens’ retirement, followed by appointment of Hillary Clinton as the newest justice. It seemed logical at the time, but I wonder if that’s off the table now that she’s in the cabinet.

Diane P. Wood of the Seventh Circuit. You heard it here first!!

Rumor is he will look for a woman, so you may be right.

As to who, probably similar considerations as we considered when discussing Ginsberg’s likely departure. Then as now I found this NYT article a cogent argument for choosing a solidly liberal candidate, “a full-throated liberal” … but I suspect that he will choose a woman who is a bit left of center and just left of Souter, which then opens up his choices for someone at least as liberal as Ginsberg of either gender when she goes. Politically those will be easier sells as they do not dramatically change the balance each time and just nudge the court more to its historic norms. And that past thread is where I heard Diane P.Woods first Kimmy! Courtesy of Shodan.

Anybody with thoughts about Souter’s legacy? (The other part of the op and something I personally would be interested in learning something more about.)

I’ve also heard Sonia Sotomayor mentioned.

I’ve never understood talk of Hilary Clinton for the Supreme Court. Has she ever expressed interest in it? It seems like a really odd place for someone who’s been in politics their whole life to go.

I don’t know about Hilary Clinton specifically, but it’s not unusual for a politician to switch to being a judge. Two cases I can think of immediately: William Howard Taft and Earl Warren.


While I think HRC would prefer a SCOTUS seat no way it will happen.

She just got Sec State for one which is no small potatoes.

Secondly the Clinton’s are hugely divisive and reviled by conservatives…they would fight tooth-and-nail against her just on principle.

Third, as Sec State, Clinton works for Obama so he has some control over her. As a SCOTUS justice she is on her own. I am hard pressed to see how they would clash seriously in that case but I would bet Obama prefers her somewhat under his thumb.

This worries me a little, because I expect we’ll see Stevens and Ginsberg leaving fairly soon. That’s three from the “liberal” wing, such as it is.

I’m confident that Obama would replace one solidly liberal justice with another solid liberal, and he might even do so with two. But three, in short order? Will he really appoint three <sneer> liberals to the bench? There will be tremendous pressure in the media for some “moderate” voices, and Obama seems to really believe all that junk about bipartisanship. He might cave to the pressure and ultimately move the court to the right.

When Bush had two SCOTUS vacancies at once, his supporters couldn’t have been that worried; there was never a chance he would nominate someone who wasn’t a fire-breathing conservative. I just don’t feel like we have that certainty from Obama. Maybe that’s a feature rather than a bug, and I’d rather have Obama picking the next justices than just about anyone I could think of, but I hope he’s over trying to “reach across the aisle” by that time.

The bench is pretty split just now. No freaking way Obama is putting anyone on there other than diehard liberals. His base will shit themselves if he doesn’t. On this they are passionate. Especially when he has the Senate votes easily in his favor.

Maybe in his second term if someone like Scalia retired (or dropped dead or whatever) Obama would consider a moderate/leaning center liberal ala O’Connor (not that she was a liberal but a moderate at least).

Of course if you have the Senate votes clearly on your side why negotiate? Especially if Obama makes a second term and the Senate remains in Dem hands? Fuck 'em. Guaranteed the Repubs would do at least that in the same circumstances. How the game is played.

Obama isn’t a diehard liberal, so why should he nominate a diehard liberal?

Because the court is currently dominated by diehard conservatives.

Obama is not as “left” as many of his critics would have it but I doubt he is close to the likes of Scalia.

I think he’ll want people on the bench who at least balance out the conservatives there.

As I said perhaps if Obama gets a second term and can replace a conservative justice he might go for a moderate. Make it 4:4 with a moderate swing vote.

I dunno…just speculating.

Does HRC have the legal chops for this kind of job? I’m asking, I honestly don’t know how successful of a lawyer she was in her previous life. But I’m imagining that Obama, being a constitutional scholar himself, is going to appoint someone who lives and breathes law, particularly the constitutional variety. To me that suggests someone from the bench rather than an outsider like Clinton.

I agree but politics is a funny thing.

Remember Harriet Miers? Some things defy explanation.

I want somebody who will make conservative heads explode. How about Janet Reno?