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Supreme Court Candidates

 
 
MASSAGAT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 08:41 pm
Article not found , RealJohnBoy--However, the gist of it is that it is vitally important that people are aware that the process will be different when Stevens retires.
0 Replies
 
MASSAGAT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 08:45 pm
Here is the article-Realjohnboy. I am also very interested in SCOTUS since I think it may be the last line of defense against totalitarian moves from DC.

Quote:

Stevens' likely retirement would shake up Supreme Court
Justice's successor won't carry the same influence
By David G. Savage
Chicago Tribune
Updated: 03/28/2010 09:54:13 PM CDT


WASHINGTON " The Supreme Court is about to undergo another generational transition, as the senior leader of its liberal wing, John Paul Stevens, is expected to retire this summer and be replaced by a junior justice appointed by President Barack Obama.

For the moment, the front-runners for the nomination, assuming Stevens does announce his retirement after he turns 90 next month, are said by legal insiders to be U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49; Judge Diane Wood, 59, of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago; and Judge Merrick Garland, 57, of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington.

They were all once law clerks at the Supreme Court for liberal justices, and they have ties to former President Bill Clinton. Wood and Garland were Clinton appointees. Kagan worked in the Clinton White House.

None of them would likely change the ideological balance of the court. But neither would any of them quite replace Stevens, simply because of his long experience, his gentle persuasiveness and, particularly, his key position as the senior justice on the liberal side for the past 16 years.

When the chief justice votes with the majority, he decides who writes the court's opinion. But if the chief justice does not have a majority, the senior justice in the majority decides on the opinion writing, which can influence the outcome.

"The big impact will be the loss of Justice Stevens' leadership position, which flowed from both his position as senior associate justice and


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his unique combination of personality and persuasiveness," said Paul Clement, former solicitor general in the second Bush administration. "Even if the president can find someone with similar strengths in building coalitions " and that is a mighty tall order " the president cannot make the nominee the senior associate justice."
His departure has a "potentially huge impact, because Stevens has used that opinion-assignment authority with striking effectiveness," said Richard Lazarus, a Georgetown University law professor.

On issues as varied as the death penalty, Guantanamo, gay rights and global warming, the Stevens wing of the court has prevailed in major rulings. But his departure would put Justice Anthony Kennedy in an even more significant spot.

After Stevens, the senior justice would be Antonin Scalia, a 1986 appointee of President Ronald Reagan, but he generally sides with Chief Justice John Roberts. Kennedy, a 1988 Reagan appointee, is next in line.

"Before and after Justice Stevens, it was often the case that if a 'liberal' result is possible, it is because Justice Kennedy is leaning that way," said Walter Dellinger, solicitor general under Clinton. "But after Stevens, Justice Kennedy will be the senior justice in almost any liberal majority, and he will assign the opinion to himself or another justice. It may even, at the margin, influence how he votes."

Dellinger said if Kennedy's view of an issue is between that of the four who lean to the right and four who lean to the left, he could vote with the liberals and control the result.

"He might honestly believe that he can best achieve a result he believes is legally optimal if he leans left and writes a cautious opinion himself," Dellinger said.

Otherwise, if there is a new leader for the court's liberal wing, it figures to be Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has become more outspoken in recent years, and she will be next in line of seniority after Kennedy.

Stevens' departure, while not official, is to some a foregone conclusion. He has hired only one clerk for the term that begins in the fall, rather than the usual four, and has said it is not exactly news that he is long past the normal age for retirement.

If Stevens indeed decides to retire this year, he is likely to make an announcement in late April after the justices have heard arguments in the last of their cases for the term. This would give the White House time to announce a nominee before the summer and set the stage for another round of confirmation hearings before August.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 09:16 pm
Judging by a Wall Street Journal report that appeared three days ago, Obama's shortlist is pretty much narrowed down to three candidates:

The Wall Street Journal of April 4th 2010 wrote:
One is Mr. Obama's solicitor general, Elena Kagan, a former dean of Harvard Law School who was considered for the nomination that ultimately went to Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Despite her scholarly career, Ms. Kagan hasn't produced the kind of provocative writings that could provide ammunition for conservative opponents, legal experts say.

That also dims enthusiasm for her from liberal groups, who have been hoping for a full-throated progressive ready to joust with such determined conservatives as Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Scalia.

Liberals see a surer voice in another finalist for last year's vacancy, Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. On a court known for its intellectual heft, Judge Wood has proven a serious counterweight to such influential conservative judges as Richard Posner and Frank Easterbrook, legal observers say.

For the same reason, conservative activists say they are more likely to fight Judge Wood's nomination.

A third oft-mentioned name is Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

As a Justice Department official in the Clinton administration, Judge Garland oversaw investigations into the Oklahoma City federal building bombing and the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski.

That and several law-and-order decisions as an appellate judge have raised his standing with conservatives, who say they have found little with which to fight a Garland nomination.

Judging by Obama's previous inclination to be Mr. Bipartisan, I'm willing to bet Dianne Wood is out. His replacement for Stevens may well move the court slightly to the right.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 09:19 pm
@MASSAGAT,
Oh! That's pretty much what your article says, too, Massagat. The composition of the shortlist, I mean.
MASSAGAT
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 09:30 pm
@Thomas,
I think you will find, Mr. Thomas, that in past years, Justice Kennedy has voted with the four Conservatives on many very important cases. Note below:High Court Nixes Section of McCain-Feingold Law
(CN) - The Supreme Court on Thursday killed a central part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and ruled that corporations may spend as much as they wish to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress. The 5-4 vote left intact limits on corporate gifts to individual candidates.
Writing in dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said the majority "threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the nation."
But Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, called the McCain-Feinberg's restrictions "censorship ... vast in its reach."
"By suppressing the speech of manifold corporations, both for-profit and nonprofit, the Government prevents their voices and viewpoints from reaching the public and advising voters on which persons or entities are hostile to their interests," Kennedy wrote.
**************************************************************
That vote will be critical in the fall when business interests open their purses to show just how dangerous Obama's regime has been to our economy.

And, if, as may happen, the appointment of a new judge may be stalled by a Republican fililbuster( Senator Kyl indicated that might occur if Obama proposes a judge who is viewed as being too far to the left), it is possible that Obama may have much less leverage after Nov. 2nd, 2010. We shall see!
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 10:17 pm
@MASSAGAT,
MASSAGAT wrote:
That vote will be critical in the fall when business interests open their purses to show just how dangerous Obama's regime has been to our economy.

Not the Stevens successor, at least not in the short term, I don't think. Any Obama appointee will be to the left of Kennedy, leaving Kennedy as the median judge on the court. By contrast, your point would be quite right if Kennedy was to resign, and Obama got to appoint his successor.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 10:20 pm
In evaluating possible candidates for the 2009 Souter succession, Scotusblog.com produced a detailed analysis of Dianne Wood, her judicial philosophy, and selected cases she played a role in. It's well worth a read in itself, and contains a cornucopia of pointers to further reading.

I'll keep my eyes open for similar articles on other likely candidates.
0 Replies
 
MASSAGAT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 10:28 pm
Please allow me to reiterate, Mr. Thomas. My referral to Kennedy's role in the case on the right of entities to fund campaign advertisings during a campaign season was to show that Kennedy may and HAS voted with the four conservatives. Because of this, he has a key role. I do not expect that Obama will nominate anyone who is not a knee-jerk far left liberal. Such a nomination to replace Stevens will NOT change the ideological balance of the court. It may well bring someone as ideologically malignant as the former lawyer for the ACLU into the post. That will cause, I am sure, much more polarization on the court but will not change its basic description:

Four Conservatives-Four Liberals--One in the middle---Kennedy.

If, as is possible, the Republicans can retake the Senate( it's a long shot), it will be extremely difficult for Obama to get the person he wants. Since it is rumored that Ginsberg may leave soon because of health issues, I am almost certain that Obama( even if he did not have the kind of opposition mentioned by Senator Kyl) could never pick a person as far to the left as Ginsberg!

Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Apr, 2010 10:33 pm
@MASSAGAT,
Massagat wrote:
Because of this, he has a key role. I do not expect that Obama will nominate anyone who is not a knee-jerk far left liberal.

I wouldn't be so sure. In a different context, Obama mentioned that back in his lawyer days, his favorite judge for arguing cases in front of was Richard Posner. How would you like Richard Posner on the Supreme Court? You're new to the community, so we didn't yet have a chance to chat about him.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 10:26 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
Judging by Obama's previous inclination to be Mr. Bipartisan, I'm willing to bet Dianne Wood is out. His replacement for Stevens may well move the court slightly to the right.

I agree on Diane Wood, but not for those reasons, and I certainly don't think Obama would be swayed by bipartisan concerns to nominate someone who is to the right of Stevens.

Wood will be 60 by the time the court reconvenes in October. Presidents have, in the recent past, viewed the opportunity to pick someone for a lifetime appointment to mean they should pick someone with a long lifetime ahead of them. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was about the same age when she was appointed by Clinton, and she has already had two bouts with cancer and was given up for dead by Sen. Jim Bunning. There has been some speculation that she would also retire during Obama's administration because of her age and health problems.

Ginsburg has been the oldest supreme court nominee in recent memory. The four most recent appointees (and their ages at the start of their first terms):

Sonia Sotomayor: 55
Samuel Alito: 56
John Roberts: 50
Stephen Breyer: 56

So at around 56-57 supreme court nominees start to lose their freshness. By 59-60, they're pretty much past their "use by" dates. In contrast, Elena Kagan, the solicitor general, would be a sprightly 50 at the start of the court's next term. For a president looking to influence the court for decades to come, that has to be an important consideration.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 10:46 am
@joefromchicago,
Have you seen a webbed profile of Kagan? So far, all my impressions of her came from reading briefs she filed as Solicitor General. They struck me as remarkably well-structured and well-reasoned. But of course, they say little about her legal attitudes, because the legal attitudes she enacted came from her boss.

PS: You didn't explicitly say how old Ginsburg was when Clinton nominated her, so I looked it up. She was 60.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 10:58 am
I was shocked at how frail Ginsburg appeared to be at the SOTU. Her illnesses have obviously taken a toll and I wouldn't be surprised if she also indicates she'll be retiring soon.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 11:03 am
@Thomas,
In Googling for Elena Cagan, I found this article on scotusblog.com. Their bottom line on Cagan is that she mostly stays quiet about her judicial philosophy, and about any legal conclusions she might reach under it. I guess that will help her get appointed these days, but hard for interested citizens to evaluate.

Scotsblog.com wrote:
To be sure, General Kagan has done a few things that hard-core conservatives will use in an amateurish-looking effort to paint her as a committed (if somehow simultaneously closet) liberal. Those will get no traction, and if anything the few examples will serve as slight Pepto-Bismol to the left’s heartburn over her nomination. First among these will be her position as Dean that the Solomon Amendment is unconstitutional and her related stated opposition to the military’s position on recruiting homosexuals. Conservatives will contend that these positions reflect an anti-military bias. But the Administration will have no trouble describing General Kagan’s position as reflecting that of Harvard as an institution " a position that was broadly shared among the nation’s elite Universities.

Opponents will try to make something of the nuances of the legal arguments Harvard joined in the Solomon Amendment litigation, which no one will understand or care about. In terms of policy, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is on its way out. And the Administration will gleefully offer up to reporters (and the Judiciary Committee) the many students who had served in the armed forces and whom General Kagan hosted at Veteran’s Day dinners each year to honor their service.

At the same time, General Kagan is extraordinarily " almost artistically " careful. I don’t know anyone who has had a conversation with her in which she expressed a personal conviction on a question of constitutional law in the past decade. Now, there are obviously an awful lot of people whom I do not know. But I have never talked to anyone who talked to anyone who had a conversation like that.

Read their full article

0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 11:41 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Have you seen a webbed profile of Kagan? So far, all my impressions of her came from reading briefs she filed as Solicitor General. They struck me as remarkably well-structured and well-reasoned. But of course, they say little about her legal attitudes, because the legal attitudes she enacted came from her boss.

Kagan was strongly considered for the seat that ultimately went to Sotomayor. The knock against her then was that she lacked experience. Most of her career has been in academia. She has never been a judge, and hasn't really spent much time as a lawyer either -- although being a judge or even a lawyer is not a prerequisite for the highest court. It was felt at the time that she needed some seasoning, which the solicitor general's office would provide.

Although she may not have written a lot of controversial journal articles that doomed Robert Bork, she still drives conservatives into a frenzy. Orrin Hatch killed her nomination to the circuit court during the waning days of Clinton's administration. It will be interesting to see their reaction this time if she's nominated.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 11:47 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
Although she may not have written a lot of controversial journal articles that doomed Robert Bork, she still drives conservatives into a frenzy.

Well, that goes without saying. Which Democratic justice doesn't drive conservatives into a frenzy? Indeed, I think Obama could appoint Richard Posner and still drive conservatives into a frenzy. After all, Posner's suggestion to create a free market in adoptions, on which custody for babies is sold at auction, cannot sit well with the family-values lobby.

So the question becomes, is there anything about Kagan that would drive conservatives more nuts than other plausible candidates?
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 12:37 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
So the question becomes, is there anything about Kagan that would drive conservatives more nuts than other plausible candidates?

Well, she's one of those pointy-headed liberal academics, so I'm sure there's something in her past, some "wise Latina"-type quip that she made years ago that will serve to whip Republicans into a lather. Some blogger will find it, Drudge will steal it, Rush will broadcast it, and the tea-bagging crowd will dutifully denounce this newest threat to democracy and the American way of life. And if not Kagan, somebody else. It really doesn't matter.
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Apr, 2010 05:47 pm
My conjecture is that Justice Stevens will indeed retire after the term and Justice Ginsburg will also do so due to health. Has a President had the opportunity to nominate two new judges at the same time? That should make for great political drama.
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2010 08:31 am
@realjohnboy,
realjohnboy wrote:

My conjecture is that Justice Stevens will indeed retire after the term and Justice Ginsburg will also do so due to health. Has a President had the opportunity to nominate two new judges at the same time? That should make for great political drama.

How soon we forget.

GWB appointed John Roberts to fill Sandra Day O'Connor's seat, but then bumped him up to chief justice when Rehnquist died. That meant that, at that point, there were two vacancies on the court. The O'Connor seat eventually went to Samuel Alito.

Prior to that, the last time a president made two appointments was when Reagan moved Rehnquist up to the CJ post and nominated Scalia to replace Rehnquist. Technically, though, that wasn't filling two vacancies, since only one justice (Warren Burger) was leaving the court. So prior to 2005, the last president to fill two vacancies for the same term was in 1971, when Nixon nominated Lewis Powell and Rehnquist on the same day to fill the vacancies left by Hugo Black and John Marshall Harlan II.

In the more distant past, though, it wasn't all that uncommon for a president to fill multiple seats. Nowadays, it is believed that the justices try to space their retirements out, so as to minimize disruptions and to allow the senate enough space to go through its now laborious and time-consuming confirmation process. Also, the conventional wisdom is that a justice won't retire in the last year of a president's administration, since it is extremely tricky to get the senate to move on the nomination of someone it perceives to be a lame duck. If Ginsburg is planning to retire, then, I would expect her to do it next year.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2010 09:37 am
@realjohnboy,
and the announcement

Quote:
"Having concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court's next Term, I shall retire from regular active service as an Associate Justice," Stevens wrote in a letter to the president, stating his retirement would be "effective the next day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year."

The last day of oral arguments is April 28 and the last day of the court will be sometime in the last week of June.




http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Supreme_Court/justice-john-paul-stevens-retires-us-supreme-court/story?id=9615609
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Apr, 2010 11:53 am
@ehBeth,
Clarifying the timing: Oral arguments for the current SC's term end around April 30th and Stevens' retirement will come at the end of June when decisions on final cases will be issued. The new term will start in early October.
We can expect hearings and a Senate vote in July-August-September
0 Replies
 
 

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