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Obama could move the Supreme Court to the right

Here is an unsettling thought for those who waited eight years for a Democratic president to make judicial appointments: Barack Obama could well end his first term with a more conservative Supreme Court than the one he inherited.

This is, I hasten to admit, premature speculation -- even with the not-so-surprise announcement that Justice John Paul Stevens, the anchor of the court’s liberal wing, is retiring.

First, the president’s only nominee so far, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, has not even finished her first term. Where she will turn out to be on the ideological spectrum in comparison to the justice she replaced, David Souter, is unknown. My best judgment: It’s a wash.

Second, the accuracy of this conjecture will depend hugely on whom the president selects to fill the vacancy.

Finally, as the examples of Souter (named by President George H.W. Bush) and Stevens (selected by President Gerald Ford) demonstrate, predictions about a new justice’s performance can make weather forecasting look like an exact science.

Nonetheless, it’s entirely possible that a more conservative court could turn out to be Obama’s paradoxical legacy -- particularly if he only serves a single term. The likelihood of the court shifting to the right is greater than that of its moving leftward.

In part, this could have been predicted even before he took office. It reflects less about Obama than it does the identity of the departing justices, one liberal followed by another. The next oldest justice is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 77. Conservatives are reaping the benefit of the Bushes, father and son, having selected justices who were relatively young. Justice Clarence Thomas was 43 when tapped, Chief Justice John Roberts was 50 and Justice Samuel Alito was 55.

Only in the case of a departure by 74-year-old Justice Antonin Scalia -- not likely to occur voluntarily during a Democratic presidency -- or Justice Anthony Kennedy, 73, would Obama have an opportunity to dramatically alter the court’s ideological makeup.

But there’s little in Obama’s record as president to suggest that he would expend enormous capital to secure the most liberal possible justice. From the point of view of liberal groups, Obama’s nominees for the lower federal courts have been, overall, disappointingly moderate.

In selecting Sotomayor, Obama acted less with an eye to ideology than to ethnicity; the selection does not offer much of a clue of what the president is looking for, as a matter of constitutional interpretation, in future justices. The conservative howling about Sotomayor’s alleged radicalism has as little basis in reality as its parallel assertions about Obama.

As Tom Goldstein of ScotusBlog put it after analyzing Sotomayor’s appellate record, “Our surveys of her opinions put her in essentially the same ideological position as Justice Souter.” From her conduct on the bench so far, there’s no reason to change that assessment.

By contrast, it’s likely, although not certain, that a Stevens replacement will be more conservative than the justice himself. If so, this would be largely in line with history. In an interview with Jeffrey Rosen for the New York Times Magazine in 2007, Stevens noted, “Including myself, every judge who’s been appointed to the court since Lewis Powell [chosen by Richard Nixon in 1971] has been more conservative than his or her predecessor.” Stevens excepted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who replaced the more conservative Byron White.

In any event, Stevens’s replacement is almost certain not to be as influential a player on the left as the departing justice. As the court’s senior associate justice, Stevens spoke immediately after the chief justice during the court’s discussion of cases; he had the power to assign opinions and some influence with swing justices such as Kennedy, and, before her departure, Sandra Day O’Connor.

I’m not arguing, by the way, that Obama would go wrong by picking a Stevens successor likely to edge the court to the right. Indeed, there is a plausible argument that a justice viewed as more centrist might have more chance of bringing along conservative colleagues on a particular issue. Two of those mentioned as possible replacements, Judge Merrick Garland of the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia, and Solicitor General Elena Kagan, are viewed as more moderate than Stevens. Either would be a superb choice.

But my prediction stands: The court that convenes on the first Monday in October is apt to be more conservative than the one we have now.

By Ruth Marcus  | April 9, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Marcus  | Tags:  Ruth Marcus  
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Comments

Obama needs to choose a Justice that has strong persuasion skills, a manifest personality, and believes in the rule of law..PRESENCE AND WEIGHT...We have Alito and Roberts and Thomas...that have screwed things up with giving corporations 'personhood..We need them to rule for the law..not corporations!

Posted by: jetlone | April 9, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

.............

This comment is pretty much
as dumb as it gets.

So Sotomayor is more
conservative than Souter?

Also, we have been burdened
with awful republican
presidents for 20 of the
past 30 years, so yeah,
we are getting awful very
very radically conservative
nominees.

Posted by: printthis | April 9, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Marcus's point about the ideological tilt of the court is well taken, but the fact that at the end of Obama's term that there will be a group a younger center-left judges to counter the younger conservative judges is not trivial. The "left" of the court (which we know is moderate by historical standards) is likely to be more "resilient" at the end of Obama's presidency than it was at the beginning, even if it is not larger in size or more ideologically pure.

Posted by: vvf2 | April 9, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Not going to happen. It would make the expressions of disappointments over the absence of a public option look like a walk in the park. I think Obama is ready for this fight. The conservatives on the court sure didn't help their side with that widely panned decision on campaign finance. That will sway some moderates who normally might not get too spun up over a having moderate nominee vs a liberal one.

Posted by: st50taw | April 9, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

It would be a real coup if he can find a *liberal Republican* appointee. There must be a few such out there, somewhere (keeping in mind that these days Richard Nixon would be considered a liberal Republican). Senate Republicans would look stupid to oppose one. Balance preserved.

Nota bene: instead of the awkward contrived phrase "radically conservative", use the traditional term "reactionary".

Posted by: raschumacher | April 9, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

So far the Republican "conservative" Justices seem to be dumber than their liberal or mdoderate colleagues. I think Republican fanatics in general tend to be dumber than the general population.

Posted by: hhkeller | April 9, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama go all out and nominate a black female ;).

Posted by: rlj1 | April 9, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Court more likely to be more conservative? Alas, sad but true.

Posted by: pierrecasteneda | April 9, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Please let it be Hilary Clinton. I can just see the heads exploding as I type this. Bill would also be a great choice.

Posted by: badgervan | April 9, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Obama has said thus far to the Democratic base: you're not very important. Never mind that we put him in the WH. He had BETTER start pleasing us, the base, or he will suffer the most humilating defeat come 2012 that any candidate for president has ever suffered. A move one iota to the right of Justice Stevens would guarantee that Obama's base would leave him in a lurch.

Obama needs to thank us and a Supreme Court Justice in the mold of Justice Stevens would do nicely.

Posted by: spike591011 | April 9, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Obama has said thus far to the Democratic base: you're not very important. Never mind that we put him in the WH. He had BETTER start pleasing us, the base, or he will suffer the most humilating defeat come 2012"

duh, that will happen anyway
i.e. his defeat in 2012

Because he has lost the indenpendents

Posted by: princeps2 | April 9, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Please.. Sotomayor’s a 3rd world socialist..

Posted by: genbarlow | April 9, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"Sotomayor’s a 3rd world socialist."

The lady's lived in New York City her entire life, except for the time she was a student. Since when is NYC 3rd world?

Posted by: bigfish2 | April 9, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama's only ideology is "Stickin' it to The (White) Man."

My feeling is that now WASPs are an endangered species, there should be a Male WASP Seat the way there was a Jewish Seat.

In any respect, I hope he doesn't appoint that loathsome Elena "Hate Speech is a Crime" Kagan.

Posted by: pmendez | April 9, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

No matter what the Great Obama does from hence forth- he is FINISHED!!! Once the VAT (Value Added Tax) kicks in; the energy costs soars; the illegals get amnesty (or he tries to get it for them); and more jobs are lost in the pvt sector; he's a dead man walking politically.

People are already pissed about the H/C law. When they went to apply for benefits; they were turned away. They said "I thought the benefits started right away", and they were told NOT! LOL

Posted by: obamaalmighT | April 9, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Article by AP today entitled "Obama wants court replacement by October". You bet he does. He's going to lose the House in November, so he'll try to ram through this nominee as quick as possible. This is critical to the Left; so much of their ideology is consistently rejected by the voters, so the only option they have left is judicial activism. Unelected judges making law out of thin air...based on their "life experiences" (aka prejudices).

Posted by: JohnR22 | April 9, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I have noticed that Conservative doesn't mean Republican in the case of Supreme Court Justices but rather equates with more of an originalist view of the constitution.

I personally don't think that is a bad thing. You need to have some sort of context to read the Constitution and what better lens than that of those who wrote it?

Posted by: BradG | April 9, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

to all,

i strongly suspect the the next associate justice will be FAR to the Right of Justice Stevens.- at least i HOPE she/he is!

frankly, BHO is NOT very bright (Michelle is the BRAINS in the family; BHO just has the MOUTH!) but not even he is STUPID enough to put either Wee Willie or "Her Royal Thighness" KLINTOON on the court, as even the DIMocRATS in the senate would balk at that political FARCE!
(the resulting political circus across the USA would sink ALL of the DIMocRATS at the next balloting, rather than just a third of them, who will lose their seats in Nov of this year.)

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 9, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

BradG, I encourage you to read the work of Jeffrey Segal and Harold Spaeth. They have found modern conservative justices have actually been more "activist" in overturning legislation and "making new law from the bench" than liberal justices. And their research (which painstakingly empirically codes every single Court opinion and vote) found that both liberals and conservatives decide cases bases on their attitudinal views, not any independent, non-ideological approach to Constitutional interpretation.

Posted by: vvf2 | April 9, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

If the Supreme Court shifts any farther to the right, they'll fall out the window.

Posted by: fleeciewool | April 9, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

JohnR22, so tell me, what does the House have to do with a Supreme Court nominee? The answer is absolutely nothing.

It's the Senate that confirms the High Court nominee and that's not going to be in Republican hands, no matter how much wishing and hoping they do.

Posted by: chi-town | April 9, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

The Senate is to vote the will of the people...so chi-town, guess what? It IS in the hands of Americans...

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | April 9, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

There are five Justices who are Catholic. Sotomeyer is a racist bigot. That is supposedly "right" but when she does it, it is "left."

Posted by: t1x1 | April 9, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the liberal activist bench-legislating judges! We need individuals on the bench who will simply follow the Constitution and laws, provide a check on the other two branches, and restrain federal power within its proper, legitimate, constitutional limits.

Posted by: thebump | April 9, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

A lot of posts say that Obama should select a homosexual or lesbian this time around.

For decades we've heard talk about appointing blacks, Jews, Hispanics, and women to the court. No one has ever said anything about appointing a gay or lesbian to the court. I don't understand why.

Posted by: blasmaic | April 9, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

chi-town; all,

chance are that the US Senate will be back in Republican hands by the time that the vote is taken for "advice & consent" on a new associate justice. - very probably, the GOP will use every legislative device at their disposal to humiliate BHO & block ANYBODY that he's likely to appoint.

the FACTS are that the DIMocRATS have about the same chance as i do (i'm NOT running for office.) to "run things" in 2011. it will take a change of five seats to block ANYTHING that BHO wants after Jan 2011.

for starters, Harry Reid is "a GONER", as is Blanche Lincoln (neither has NO chance to re-elected. NONE!) & several other DIMocRAT leftists are very vulnerable to defeat.

face it, the DIMocRATS are "toast" & BHO is an abysmal FAILURE as POTUS. furthermore, BHO makes Jimmy Carter look smart/competent AND Richard M Nixon look HONEST!

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 9, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Recently, we have had some Franco-style Roman Catholics appointed. Let's hope we have seen the end of that.

Posted by: rusty3 | April 9, 2010 10:52 PM | Report abuse

" In an interview with Jeffrey Rosen for the New York Times Magazine in 2007, Stevens noted, “Including myself, every judge who’s been appointed to the court since Lewis Powell [chosen by Richard Nixon in 1971] has been more conservative than his or her predecessor.” Stevens excepted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who replaced the more conservative Byron White."

That's rather tendentious. It is arguably true for any justice< but not for every justice.

Consider the relative conservatism of each (confirmed) new justice versus his or her predecessor:

Rehnqist versus Harlan? YES
Stevens versus Douglas? YES
O'Connor versus Stewart? MAYBE
Scalia versus Burger*? YES
Kennedy versus Powell? MAYBE
Souter versus Brennan? YES
Thomas versus Marshal? YES
Breyer versus Blackmun? MAYBE
Roberts versus Rehnquist**? MAYBE
Alito versus O'Connor**? YES

*Here Rehnquist was promoted to replace the retiring Chief Justice Burger and Scalia was appointed to replace Rehnquist. Arguably this should be broken down into two lines:
Rehnquist versus Burger? YES
Scalia versus Rehnquist? MAYBE

**Although Roberts was first nominated to replace O'Connor as Associate Justice his nomination was later promoted to that of Chief Justice. That is the position to which he was confirmed.

I see 4, maybe 5 definite MAYBEs in the list. I might argue YES for any of them, but for all? I think that Justice Stevens exaggerates.

Posted by: MarkDavidovich | April 9, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Article by AP today entitled "Obama wants court replacement by October". You bet he does. He's going to lose the House in November, so he'll try to ram through this nominee as quick as possible. This is critical to the Left; so much of their ideology is consistently rejected by the voters, so the only option they have left is judicial activism. Unelected judges making law out of thin air...based on their "life experiences" (aka prejudices).

Posted by: JohnR22
-----------
Hi Nostradamus - How's that "Bradley effect" working out for you?

Posted by: CynthiaD1 | April 9, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

hhkeller said "So far the Republican "conservative" Justices seem to be dumber than their liberal or mdoderate colleagues. I think Republican fanatics in general tend to be dumber than the general population."

Of course. This explains why inner city minorities consistently have voted Democratic for the last 48 years and are still in the same bad shape. Those years with Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton have really done wonders for SE and East Baltimore. Oh, did I forget labor unions who have gnawed off the hands that feed them.

Posted by: avpcomp2 | April 10, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

CynthiaD1; JohnR22; all,

not only are the DIMocRAT lunatics going to lose the HoR in Nov., but they also will lose the US Senate, too.

further, BHO has NO chance to seat a new justice, until well after Jan 2011, as the GOP will use every possible "stalling technique" at their disposal to assure that he cannot appoint another "radical leftist" to the SCOTUS.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 10, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

"SCOTUS's right turn?" "Obama could move the Supreme Court that direction."

Yes messianic wonder boy could and when that happens I will sell my pink unicorn ranch on Kwajalein and retire to Shangri-La.

Posted by: fenoy | April 10, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Obama will certainly, without question, pick a candidate that is much more conservative than Justice Stevens, a most likely, a through and trough conservative, he is not looking for any kind of fight here. The Republicans still might try to block whoever the person is just or the sake of picking a fight.

Posted by: yarbrougharts | April 10, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Why should our Supreme Court be anything but conservative? It's role is to preserve the Constitution, not re-invent it.

Posted by: sally62 | April 10, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Obama has disappointed his base so often already, I can only say I would not be surprised if he continued his "bi-partisan mantra" and lets this opportunity slip by just as he did with the Public Option, Gays in the Military, DOMA and Immigration Reform. It seems he only comes out to fight when the fight is truly lost already.

Posted by: paris1969 | April 10, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

What we don't need is another sheep like Thomas (except for the few times he actually says anything, which it's not 'ba-aaa-aa. - remember the cross-burning dissent, and the thing about arguments not going about in disguise,) but except for that, sheep, who (almost) always votes with his daddy, (now Scalia, another piece of judicial work who thinks with the greatest of clarity about free speech (using the word-of-least-semantic-frequency-of-the-day, "synechode", before sending to prison the guy who had the (corrrect) tumerity to say "F*** the draft"). Enough! What we do need is a Justice that recognizes that today the rights and freedoms the Founding Fathers wrote up are in deep trouble and need inteligence, like Steven's native lights, to protect.

What do you want?, Blackwater (now Xe)/KBR types to practice keep up their "extrordinary rendition"s nazi-style?

Posted by: memorybridge1 | April 10, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

"It's role is to preserve the Constitution, not re-invent it."

After Obama is reelected in 2012, Kennedy and Scalia are both going to give it up and retire. In the end, Obama will have appointed five out of nine jutices. These posts are too high profile to keep vacant. The "Party of No" will have to let it come to a vote. In the end the same tactics that got Clarence Thomas and John Roberts through confirmation work for liberal justices too.

Wave goodbye to the wing-nut brand of originalism we've been seeing out of the SCOTUS. It's years are numbered.

Posted by: fzdybel | April 10, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

Obama will most likely appoint a decently left justice, but probably not on the same boat as Stevens, the leader of the court's liberal wing.

yes republicans will sputter and whine, yes the nomination will get passed, as only one republican is required to break a filibuster and several of them (Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins for example) have sworn to reject filibustering SCOTUS nominations.

Yes the Democrats will lose some seats to the Republicans (or, if I wanted to immitate the brand of babyish name-calling popular with some commentors, "Republicant's"), but I think its a safe bet that if health care proves to be decent, semi-popular, or even just bland (as opposed to the fiery apocalypse conservatives screeched it would be) than the Dems will retain control of atleast one house of congress.

Yes, the out party almost always gains seats in midterms, but they don't always seize control of congress. The pendulum swings. Center-right public under Bush, backlash brings it to Center-left and makes history with Obama. It'll swing back, but hardly will it be the doom of Democrats.

I LOL at the conservative doomsday prophets in these comments who predict instant demise for the Dem's. They probably voted for Sarah Palin based on her looks and the fact that she knew how to shoot a gun. /rolls eyes

Posted by: ProgunDemocrat | April 10, 2010 2:37 AM | Report abuse

When will he finally consider nominating a black Supreme Court Justice?

Posted by: seansets | April 10, 2010 2:56 AM | Report abuse

Bush replaced moderate Sandra Day O'Connor with the farrrrr right Alito and The People are being trampled by Corporate power.
Pres. Obama should nominate an equal with Justice Stevens!

Posted by: angie12106 | April 10, 2010 2:57 AM | Report abuse

" In an interview with Jeffrey Rosen for the New York Times Magazine in 2007, Stevens noted, “Including myself, every judge who’s been appointed to the court since Lewis Powell [chosen by Richard Nixon in 1971] has been more conservative than his or her predecessor.” Stevens excepted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who replaced the more conservative Byron White."

That's rather tendentious. It is arguably true for any justice< but not for every justice.

Consider the relative conservatism of each (confirmed) new justice versus his or her predecessor:

Rehnqist versus Harlan? YES
Stevens versus Douglas? YES
O'Connor versus Stewart? MAYBE
Scalia versus Burger*? YES
Kennedy versus Powell? MAYBE
Souter versus Brennan? YES
Thomas versus Marshal? YES
Breyer versus Blackmun? MAYBE
Roberts versus Rehnquist**? MAYBE
Alito versus O'Connor**? YES

*Here Rehnquist was promoted to replace the retiring Chief Justice Burger and Scalia was appointed to replace Rehnquist. Arguably this should be broken down into two lines:
Rehnquist versus Burger? YES
Scalia versus Rehnquist? MAYBE

**Although Roberts was first nominated to replace O'Connor as Associate Justice his nomination was later promoted to that of Chief Justice. That is the position to which he was confirmed.

I see 4, maybe 5 definite MAYBEs in the list. I might argue YES for any of them, but for all? I think that Justice Stevens exaggerates.

Posted by: MarkDavidovich | April 10, 2010 3:09 AM | Report abuse

Nixon, Ford and Bush I chose some moderate and liberal justices partly because they were not right-wing ideologues, as are most current Republicans, as well as the previous president.

Obama's second nomination will undoubtedly be someone as his first, an individual who is at least moderately liberal, who will support abortion rights, reverse discrimination, generally uphold civil liberties, tend to favor consumers over corporations, and be relatively weak on law enforcement issues.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | April 10, 2010 3:22 AM | Report abuse

=======
=======
Obama will continue his suicidal crusade of doing everything the 'uglicans want so "maybe they'll like me and I can be another Lincoln who brought the country together".

His delusions already let cheney and his gang get away with horrible crimes, and every single decision he's made has been repuglican. Even healthcare, which should have been single-payer like every other civilized country, became "everybody has to pay through insurance companies so they can skim billions for doing exactly nothing for sick people".

He'll appoint Glenn Beck to the supreme court, eliminate all taxes on corporations, and be amazed when he still loses in '12.

And a year later we'll all have government TV cameras in our houses.

--faye kane, homeless brain
Read more of my smartmouth opinions at http://tinyurl.com/fayescave

Posted by: Knee_Cheese_Zarathustra | April 10, 2010 4:03 AM | Report abuse

Right. The most partisan, leftist, socialist, childish, peevish little punk of a president is going to appoint a conservative leaning judge.

Like Van Jones?

Posted by: VirginiaConservative | April 10, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Another Conservative on the Supreme Court would help the radical left gain support from the US workers. It is about time.

Posted by: chicagostanford | April 10, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

There is no substance to this article.

Posted by: JohnRice | April 10, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Who cares what the ideological position of a new Supreme Count Justice may be. We need a mid-Western, green-eyed, Asian-lineage, lesbian, paraplegic, rescuer of harp seals as the nominee.

I mean, outward appearance and circumstantial characteristics are all that count with Democrats since they have no substance to start with, right?

Posted by: crisp11 | April 10, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh, she also needs to be a Scientologist who is infected with HIV.

Sorry, wouldn't want to leave out any protected group....

Posted by: crisp11 | April 10, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Where is the newa media in this equation? Most Americans, myself included, don't know the leanings of the potential nominees and look to the news for insight. If your handling of the Sotomayor nomination or the health care bill is any indication, the news media will be labeled "missing in action". Why do you seem to be afraid to tell the truth about GOP misinformation? Death panel? Socialist takeover of the health care system? When Sotomayor was being roasted by little Jeffy Sessions now a peep from the Post to set the record straight? The reason the wingnuts makes so much noise is because they are never held to account for it!

VirginiaConservative, a consevative you may be, a stupid, little name calling mouse, no doubt about that one!

Posted by: concerned13 | April 10, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

This is what happens when an op/ed writer feels compelled to jump in early with sensationalist speculation. As of this morning we have a list of three potential nominees (probably a few more will be added). John Yoo and Jay Bybee are not among them!

I wouldn't judge that the sky is falling, nor do I expect it to start raining pieces of cerulean anytime soon -- unless you're looking for another Thomas or Scalia. If so, you're gonna have to keep looking. And be sure to pack a lunch.

See, we learned the lesson of Roberts and Alito. That's why we went out and won us an election. Now it's our turn.

Posted by: laboo | April 10, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Nominate Ralph Nader to the court!

Posted by: timothy2me | April 10, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Obama's nominee may be considering the constitutionality of the health care bill in suits brought either by states or by private individuals. I'd expect that his nominee -- at a minimum -- would have to buy into the argument that the federal government can mandate the purchase of health insurance from private companies. A conservative jurist will have difficulty swallowing that argument.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | April 10, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

What blather.

One can only ask "So what?"

Posted by: GaryEMasters | April 10, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Ruth Marcus writes "Obama’s nominees for the lower federal courts have been, overall, disappointingly moderate."

Well.

That kind of says it all. The sooner November arrives, the sooner this "disappointingly moderate" country can sweep the dangerously radical leftists out of power.

Posted by: spamagnet987 | April 10, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

the only way this Court could be more right wing is if Obama nominated Mormon Elder Beck

Posted by: areyousaying | April 10, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

On criminal justice issues Barack Obama is a right-wing authoritarian who puts the power and authority of government and enforcement above the rights and freedoms of the people. Sotomayor is a right-wing authoritarian who will, at every turn, defer to police against the people. There is no reason to believe that Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Democratic Party will not use this opportunity to pack the court with authoritarians for the next thirty years.

Posted by: aahpat | April 10, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I seriously doubt that President will risk the goof of President Ford. He will nominate a tride and true Judicial activist. One that will see the Constitution not as a framework but as an antique in need of modernizing. I challenge the President to go against the Liberal grain and nominate someone that sees the Constitution as the law of the land as it is written.

Posted by: bobbo2 | April 10, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Most adults faced with reality become conservative.

Posted by: pkhenry | April 10, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

What scares me about obama is that he may pick someone for who they are and not what they are which should be someone who understands and believe's in the constitution.

Posted by: samuellenn | April 10, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

A Justice who knows his/her stuff, but still retains empathy and humility, would be
a real treat.
Otherwise, let's get a machine to sit on the court. Sort of like the chess playing Deep Blue, but programmed for law.
Keeping the N-1 on autopilot, the rational choice, is not the best choice.

Posted by: steveandjanereed1 | April 10, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

What scares me about obama is that he may pick someone for who they are and not what they are which should be someone who understands and believe's in the constitution.

Posted by: samuellenn | April 10, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The Supreme Court, and other controlling institutions, including the Univerisities, has already moved so far to the right since 1975 I feel alienated. A`stranger in what once was my land.
So the intention is to go further? The lower classes are to be completely subjected? For Democracy to work a large portion of the populace must be apathetic?
And this is to be done by education, fragmentation, & distracting media?

Posted by: WilliamBlake | April 10, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Who did this IDIOT sleep with, to get this job? Whet happened to this Newspaper? His pick will be to the LEFT of HIM! And everybody knows it. And if I am a Republican Senator, I FILLIBUSTER.
What's good for the goose, I always say.

Posted by: GoomyGommy | April 10, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

If the Supreme Court shifts any farther to the right, they'll fall out the window.

Posted by: fleeciewool
.......................
yeah

Posted by: WilliamBlake | April 10, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

The White House will receive significant pressure from both the right and left, all of which it will basically ignore. Liberals will not only rightly view this as their last, best opportunity to appoint a genuine progressive to the Court for a long time (since Obama will not be re-elected), but also will recognize the significant prospect that the Court will ironically become more conservative under a Democratic President with this change in membership because Justice Stevens is the left’s leading strategist and seemingly has the best relationship with Justice Kennedy. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

Posted by: jahoby | April 10, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

No way Obama will nominate a moderate or centrist. This fellow is left of socialism and his plan is to own the executive, legislative and judicial branches so he can communize this country with impudence.

Obama's vision of America is not American.

Posted by: Straightline | April 10, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I guess Ms Marcus thought that she could put the conservatives to sleep with that "curve ball".

The only thing Obama does to the right, is to look in the mirror each morning, point his finger, and shout "I'm right!"

Posted by: barrysal | April 10, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Most adults faced with reality become conservative.

Posted by: pkhenry
.........................................
What the heck is that supposed to mean in todays world?
The complete death of democracy?

Becoming more conservative means feudal style subordinating of yourself to
the rule of wealth. Your submitting to more powerful men,

Posted by: WilliamBlake | April 10, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I guess Ms Marcus thought that she could put the conservatives to sleep with that "curve ball".

The only thing Obama does to the right, is to look in the mirror each morning, point his finger, and shout "I'm right!"

Posted by: barrysal | April 10, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

For the sake of the country, I believe he has to nominate the most liberal justice he can find who is qualified. It would be best if that were a young person so that the choice could not be overturned in the near future.

If the Republicans filibuster, he should keep at it with more and more liberal nominees. If they continue to block right up to the election, let those "no"'s become an issue in the next election in getting the electorate to replace GOP senators with Democratic ones so that a nominee can get through -- also turn the Republican "let us have an up or down vote on judical nominees" back on them.

Although I would prefer someone younger, I thing Hilary Clinton would be an excellent choice. She has done well in both the senate and as Sec. of State.

Another creative idea would be for Mr. Obama to nominate himself. He is a Constitutional Law scholar and well-qualified. Now that would put the GOP in a quandry. They claim they do not want him as president. This would give them a chance to get rid of him. I think Biden would be a fine president. It would give us many years of a much more reasonable voice on the SCOTUS to counter the extremes of Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts. He also should have many years ahead of him.

It has many added incetives to it. For example, the Senate would probably be quick to confirm Biden's V-P pick because the Republicans would not like Nancy Pelosi being next in line for the presidency.

I think putting the Republicans in such binds would be great pay-back for their blocking so many things that would be of such great value to the American people.

While I would like to see the above done for the U.S. citizens as a whole, even if he does not choose to follow my advice, I hope he would do it for his own sake. The present make-up of the Court has shown its colors by overriding the will of the people to install GWB in 2000 and allowing corporations to dominate elections. It is in his own interest to appoint the most liberal justices he can find to make sure the future court does not overturn the laws he signs because of this continual right wing "legislating from the bench."

If we could get a majority liberal base of young justices, I would sleep better at night knowing I would probably die before we had to face a court configured like the current one which makes decisions with no regard for the ordinary Americans.

Posted by: TomfromNJ1 | April 10, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Obama needs to appoint someone wild, absurd, and unpredictable. I nominate two choices:

Sarah Palin
Michele Bachmann

Posted by: Maddogg | April 10, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The idea that BHO should make a pick that would appease the right wingnut knuckledraggers and attract Republican votes is laughable. They will oppose his candidate even if he selects Mussolini!

Posted by: llnstoner | April 10, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Are you serious! This is the day the progressive movement has been waiting 80 years for. "move the court to the right"? I doubt that! This progressive president will aim for the most liberal judge he can find. You know darn well, he's not going to waste time, because the "midterms" are coming, and he's going to lose his majoritys, so he"s going to move quickly. I can't tell you what i really think, thus i get edited.

Posted by: drprobus | April 10, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Obama is looking for a Pro-Palestinian or Muslim candidate ....the list has been drawn up and hes reviewing it...he wants to fundamentally transform America - you just dont know it YET.

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | April 10, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Are you serious! This is the day the progressive movement has been waiting 80 years for. "move the court to the right"? I doubt that! This progressive president will aim for the most liberal judge he can find. You know darn well, he's not going to waste time, because the "midterms" are coming, and he's going to lose his majoritys, so he"s going to move quickly. I can't tell you what i really think, thus i get edited.

Posted by: drprobus | April 10, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

obamaalmighT said: "No matter what the Great Obama does from henceforth- he is FINISHED!!! ... People are already pissed about the H/C law."

Hey obamaalmighT, I am "people" and don't appreciate your attempt to speak for me. Nearly half of Americans (49%) think the health care law is a good thing, compared to 40% who don't. (11% apparently live in a cave since they have no opinion). Of the 40% who don't like it, nearly half of those don't like it because it doesn't do enough to reform health care. That leaves only about 20% of Americans who think like you and are against it on principle.

So yes, "people" are pissed. A small percentage of uninformed, angry, hateful and unfortunately very loud "people." But not the rest of us. And since we live in a democracy (your false cries of socialism aside), your 20% loses to the what the majority of people want. You're not against democracy now, are you?

Posted by: tomguy1 | April 10, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

obamaalmighT said: "No matter what the Great Obama does from henceforth- he is FINISHED!!! ... People are already pissed about the H/C law."

Hey obamaalmighT, I am "people" and don't appreciate your attempt to speak for me. Nearly half of Americans (49%) think the health care law is a good thing, compared to 40% who don't. (11% apparently live in a cave since they have no opinion). Of the 40% who don't like it, nearly half of those don't like it because it doesn't do enough to reform health care. That leaves only about 20% of Americans who think like you and are against it on principle.

So yes, "people" are pissed. A small percentage of uninformed, angry, hateful and unfortunately very loud "people." But not the rest of us. And since we live in a democracy (your false cries of socialism aside), your 20% loses to the what the majority of people want. You're not against democracy now, are you?

Posted by: tomguy1 | April 10, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

SCOTUS needs a left-of-center judge, ideally on the order of Ginsberg, ideally, Jewish.

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | April 10, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

First, it takes a pretty limited person intellectually and educationally to suggest that Conservatives are inherently stupid or dumb. Second, the Conservatives on the Court, when they act with restraint and seek to interpret the Constitution as written and as intended, provide the greatest opportunity for the people and their elected representatives to determine the laws that will govern our society. As Justice Scalia has stated, if people want to legalize same sex marriage, they can, through their elected representatives, NOT 9 unelected and virtually untouchable judges. Conservative Justices vehemently opposed the majority decision in Kelo v. New London. Justice Thomas noted how the activists / liberals on the Court had, by their decision, made it possible for governments to seize private property when it could be used to create jobs and fill government coffers. Who would this hurt most, according to Justice Roberts? The POOR, i.e., uneducated minorities, the elderly, single moms, etc., because they have the least poilitical clout in society. So in being an advocate of judicial restraint, and acting as an Originalist, the evil Conservative Justice Thomas fought for the little guy / gal against the power of the corporations and government. How? He argued that the Constitution limits government acquisition of privately-owned land to the "public use," the exact words in the Takings Clause of the 5th amendment. Stevens, Ginsberg, etc., empowered government by re-interpreting the word "use" to "purpose," granting government virtually unlimited power to seize land. Who is the enemy of freedom now, you twits?

Posted by: SoonerGal | April 10, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

We need to impeach Roberts and Alito. They are extreme in their decisions and need to go. This right leaning court decimated our country by installing Bush as president and they need to pay.

Posted by: blarsen1 | April 10, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

How much more right and political can the
current SCOTUS get?

President Obama needs to select a nominee
who is at least as nonpartisan as Stevens.

Perhaps he will be fortunate and have yet
another opportunity to nominate a third
candidate - Roberts??? What a total loser,
and maybe his health issues will make him
step aside.

Posted by: Sirius2 | April 10, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

All Hail The Liberal Culture Of Death.....

The Abortion-Breast Cancer Link: How Politics
Trumped Science and Informed Consent
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 8 Number 2 Summer 2003...

Imagine all those babies Liberals killed since 1973. Most of them could have contributed to society to the point where Social Security would not be in the mess that's it's in now and more tax revenue would have been generated.

Of course, there would have been a percentage that would have been on welfare voting Moonbat-Liberal-Communist as well.

Posted by: ANTILIB | April 10, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Obama's nominee may be considering the constitutionality of the health care bill in suits brought either by states or by private individuals. I'd expect that his nominee -- at a minimum -- would have to buy into the argument that the federal government can mandate the purchase of health insurance from private companies. A conservative jurist will have difficulty swallowing that argument.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | April 10, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

------------------------------------------

Another IGNORANT comment from someone stupid!

Are we NOT MANDATED to purchase car insurance by government? And it does not matter if the mandate comes from STATE or FED.

You guys are just to frigging unbelievably stupid.

Posted by: mackiejw | April 10, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Stevens believe that porn in the internet is freedom of speech. The idiot voted to strike down a federal law regulating online obscene content.

The man together with his fellow justices who voted to strike down that law bear the burden of being complicit to the death of millions or billions of people come Doomsday plus those who died in the 9/11 attack.

No one would want to be on this man's shoe when the time comes that he will account of his deeds to God.

It's a shame that we have justices that is ignorant of the Bible and ignorant of the character of God.

America and the world will pay dearly for the stupidity done by these stooges in the Supreme Court

Posted by: spidermean2 | April 10, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Wood makes a sensible choice for replacing Stevens in particular since she was also an English major, has ties to Chicago, and is not another product of Harvard or Yale. Her appointment would also appeal to Obama's base, which is no longer "all fired up" after so many preemptive concessions to the GOP. I think that Obama has to nominate Wood and see how the confirmation goes. If she doesn't get the post, then we can move on to somebody else.

Posted by: Bertilak | April 10, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Wood makes a sensible choice for replacing Stevens in particular since she was also an English major, also has ties to Chicago, and (also) is not yet another product of Harvard or Yale. Her appointment would also appeal to Obama's base, which is no longer "all fired up" after so many preemptive concessions to the GOP. I think that Obama has to nominate Wood and see how the confirmation goes. If she doesn't get the post, then we can move on to somebody else.

Posted by: Bertilak | April 10, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"No matter what the Great Obama does from hence forth- he is FINISHED!!! Once the VAT (Value Added Tax) kicks in; the energy costs soars; the illegals get amnesty (or he tries to get it for them); and more jobs are lost in the pvt sector; he's a dead man walking politically.

People are already pissed about the H/C law. When they went to apply for benefits; they were turned away. They said "I thought the benefits started right away", and they were told NOT! LOL

Posted by: obamaalmighT | April 9, 2010 5:36 PM "

Are you as idiotic as you sound?

Posted by: mtravali | April 10, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

spidermean2 wrote:
"The man together with his fellow justices who voted to strike down that law bear the burden of being complicit to the death of millions or billions of people come Doomsday"

HUH????????????????????????????????

SCOTUS evaluates the constitutionality of laws in this country, not their piety. As a Republican, I am increasingly concerned by the influence of religious fundamentalists in my party. Until we root them out, the GOP will never truly return to prominence.

It's a shame, because as long as nobody is around to challenge the Democrats, things will not turn out well for America.

Let's hope, perhaps in vein, that Obama will appoint a judge that can objectively interpret the constitution, is open-minded, and NOT ANOTHER IDEOLOGUE. There are enough of those on the court already. Let's get another Kennedy or O'Connor on the bench, not another Ginsberg/Alito.

Posted by: jboogie1 | April 10, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

SCOTUS needs a left-of-center judge, ideally on the order of Ginsberg, ideally, Jewish.

Posted by: FarnazMansouri | April 10, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I understand the temptation to appoint a leftist on the court as a countermeasure to the Bush appointees, but at some point, we need a president to stop appointing political ideologues. The country is best served not by Alito, Ginsberg, Thomas or Breyer, but by Kennedy. We need somebody who is intellectually honest, open-minded, and understands the constitution.

And I hope we need to stop overvaluing ethnic diversity on the court. It makes me sick that a nominee's race is a chief factor in our decisions.

Posted by: jboogie1 | April 10, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, maybe the court will be more conservative, that's hardly a bold prediction.

But conservative opinions in the court on the right will energize voters to go to the ballot box on the left.

Posted by: camasca | April 10, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

How about we start by eliminating life time appointment for judges.
SCOTUS ... 15 years and 7 years for all other judges.

Posted by: knjincvc | April 10, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

A right wing appointment (highly unlikely) would be the worst thing for the Supreme Court which is already become a right wing activist court. If we want to hand this country over further to corporations and big business interests, then we appoint another right winger to the court. I hope people actually win this time and a left wing judge gets put in place.

Posted by: dwdave67 | April 10, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I fear Obama will choose a right-leaning justice in order to continue to appease the noisy C-SPAN, Fox and CNN Republican supporting media. Never mind that our nation remains in the dark ages and has crossed the line into an ungovernable fascist culture thanks to the powerful Republican juggernaut with absolutely NO counterpart from the Democrats to keep our nation on an even keel.
Although a menace to our stability, health, happiness and well being, Republicans hate to loose and Democrats? ....... not at all!

Posted by: mimosa1 | April 10, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

This isn't just "premature speculation." It is "premature RIDICULOUS speculation."

Posted by: ejs2 | April 10, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse


We need another justice to counterbalance the wingnut cabal of Robers, Scalia, Alito and Thomas. Hopefully, Obama will appoint someone who can do that, because these guys have no qualms about overturning a century of law to jam their ideology down our throats.

Let the right wing loons howl, who cares?

Posted by: losthorizon10 | April 10, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Pertinent questions to measure the coming nominee would be:
1. what is the proper role of the federal govenments verse the States?
2. Is the federal goverment limited to the Enumerated Powers and the Elastic clause (necessary and proper clause)? Explain the answer in reference to specific Article and clauses of the Constitution
3. What is the role of the judiciary? What if anything limits it? Is the role of a Supreme Court Justice to 'do justice' or be 'empathic' when developing decisions? Is so, how is that difference from the Legislature (that actually writes the law)?
4. Is the role of a justice limited to "calling balls and strikes" (Judge Roberts)?

Posted by: historyStudent1 | April 10, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

It would not be difficult to make the SC more conservative.

Just replace one or two of the flaming, liberal activists with a true moderate.

If only!

Posted by: battleground51 | April 10, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

IF Barack Obama wants to break with he reputation that he is getting for being a right-wing pandering authoritarian he could nominate Moritz college of Law Ohio State University Professor Michelle Alexander for the Supreme Court. http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/faculty/bios.php?ID=2

Posted by: aahpat | April 10, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Article by AP today entitled "Obama wants court replacement by October". You bet he does. He's going to lose the House in November, so he'll try to ram through this nominee as quick as possible. This is critical to the Left; so much of their ideology is consistently rejected by the voters, so the only option they have left is judicial activism. Unelected judges making law out of thin air...based on their "life experiences" (aka prejudices).

Posted by: JohnR22

Yo knucklehead! The House has NOTHING to do with a Supreme Court nominee--take a civics course. Second, it's a bit perplexing that you only dislike "activism" if it's done by liberals. Conservatives throwing out 100 years of precedents is in DIRECT opposition to the doctrine of stare decisis, which they claim to venerate.
My hope is that he finds THE most outspoken liberal he can and dare the Republicans to block it--after all their blather during the reagan, and Bush years that elections have consequenxces, and that Presidents deserve to have their nominees confirmed. Don't conservatives sufffer from whiplash as they make such neck snapping gestures?

Posted by: bklyndan22 | April 10, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

From 65-74 2% die per year; from 75-84, 5%. One cannot predict which of the black cloaked will next pass, but more likely a conservative than a liberal will appear in a casket.

Posted by: Martial | April 10, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"So far the Republican "conservative" Justices seem to be dumber than their liberal or mdoderate colleagues. I think Republican fanatics in general tend to be dumber than the general population.

Posted by: hhkeller"

Ah yes. Another "tolerant" liberal who thinks that people who don't her narrow-minded views are "dumb". LOL

Posted by: bobmoses | April 10, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I've stopped caring what the socialist Fool does--at least until we get a Congress who won't be mesmerized by His lies...

Posted by: dmedman50 | April 10, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

A caveat regarding political estimates derived from evaluating ages. Fielding's Captain mentioned below is heir to a huge fortune of Squire Allworthy, a much older gentleman:

Nothing was wanting to enable him to enter upon the immediate execution of this plan, but the death of Mr Allworthy; in calculating which he had employed much of his own algebra, besides purchasing every book extant that treats of the value of lives, reversions, &c. From all which he satisfied himself, that as he had every day a chance of this happening, so had he more than an even chance of its happening within a few years.

But while the captain was one day busied in deep contemplations of this kind, one of the most unlucky as well as unseasonable accidents happened to him. The utmost malice of Fortune could, indeed, have contrived nothing so cruel, so mal-a-propos, so absolutely destructive to all his schemes. In short, not to keep the reader in long suspense, just at the very instant when his heart was exulting in meditations on the happiness which would accrue to him by Mr Allworthy's death, he himself--died of an apoplexy.

_____________

That's the thing about these life time appointments to the Supreme Court. One simply cannot be sure of when death will case a new opening.

Posted by: Martial | April 10, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

If the court moves any further to the right it will fall of the political specturm. Any more to the right would be flat out unabashed fascism. We might as well never bother to read or teach the Constitution to schoo lchildren except perhaps as an historic artifact of when the Untied States was a free and equal society based on rule of law.

Posted by: John1263 | April 10, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse


No matter what the Great Obama does from hence forth- he is FINISHED!!! Once the VAT (Value Added Tax) kicks in; the energy costs soars; the illegals get amnesty (or he tries to get it for them); and more jobs are lost in the pvt sector; he's a dead man walking politically.

People are already pissed about the H/C law. When they went to apply for benefits; they were turned away. They said "I thought the benefits started right away", and they were told NOT! LOL

Posted by: obamaalmighT
******************************************
They must have been tea-baggers. Only they could be that stupid, and it makes perfect sense that they would be the first to apply since hypocrisy is what they thrive on.

Posted by: st50taw | April 10, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

that old man moved left the court did not move away from him.
he voted for the death penalty and then decided he was wrong. that is him moving not the court.
glad to get rid of another neo leftist dog.

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | April 10, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

What a revolting development that would be...(for the liberals)!

Posted by: SeniorVet | April 10, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

obamaalmighT

I know on the planet HWC (Hateful White Christians) where everyone is pissed off about something, you think something is wrong. But here on planet Earth many people still think thing are doing better under Obama.
Let’s review what the Republican Party did on their watch: 9-11 terrorist attack, war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan, huge deficit, 40% decrease in real estate values, 40% decrease in the stock market, Enron (family friends of the Bush family), high oil prices, warrantless wire taps and much more!
Wow with all that I can’t believe how Obama was elected.
Well, all your prayers to God for Obama to lose were answered but you did not like what God wanted; a black president named Obama.
So, how do you respond? With hatred, real Christian response.
Rather than taking responsible for what your party did, you would rather get angry about what Obama MIGHT do. Sad, angry little people.

Posted by: wbgibbons | April 10, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I consider myself a moderate, but it's because of hateful, angry, and ignorant conservatives that I just can't vote Republican.

All of you people who are calling Sotomayor a racist probably don't know a single person who isn't exactly like you. You do not know what it is like to be a minority, so don't call her a racist. In fact, your lack of empathy (a common problem with right wingers), might suggest that you are the racist. Why is it that you guys are now so angry; you didn't like Clinton, but it wasn't this nasty. Could it be because there's a black president, who you guys don't think is a "real American"?

Who's the real racist, scumbag?

Posted by: Jimibristol | April 10, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

When it came to the selection of Supreme Court nominees Obama disagreed with fellow Democrats over the selection of Justices Roberts and Alito and voted against their confirmation in spite of their excellent legal credentials. He would apparently use an entirely different yardstick to the tried and tested one and stated, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom.

The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges”.

The above is from an article,

http://www.ourchangingglobe.com/obama-and-the-missing-paper-trail/

posted in 2008

He chose Sotomayer.

Mike

Posted by: redmike | April 10, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

When it came to the selection of Supreme Court nominees Obama disagreed with fellow Democrats over the selection of Justices Roberts and Alito and voted against their confirmation in spite of their excellent legal credentials. He would apparently use an entirely different yardstick to the tried and tested one and stated, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom.

The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges”.

The above is from an article,

http://www.ourchangingglobe.com/obama-and-the-missing-paper-trail/

posted in 2008

He chose Sotomayeor.

Mike

Posted by: redmike | April 10, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama appointing a justice more conservative than Stevens? Not if he wants to be reelected - those of us that put him in the White House are already disappointed - this would be the last straw with many of us.

Posted by: portico6 | April 10, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The latest WP Headline in Washingtonian speak: "POTUS fills SCOTUS to ensure COTUS remains DPOTUS but RPOTUS enlists TPOTUS to make raucous and save ALLOTUS".

AND SO IT GOES!!!!

Posted by: HarGru | April 10, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

If the president wants even a 50-50 shot at getting re-elected he'd better choose a justice in the mold of the man that he/she is replacing,not some wish washy centrist or a conservative idiot. By the by speaking of idiots, the Barack isn't anymore socialist,communist,etc etc, than the Pope. What he is is a Republican wannabe who refuses to jettison his Rodney King attitude and act like FDR or IN's Adam Benjamin and kick some Republican butt. For a man that has so much potential his refusal to use any of it isn't only disappointing it ticks me off!

Posted by: resistancerd | April 10, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Te comment on republicons being dumber than the general population is a given. You have to be pretty gullible to be able to listen to 30 seconds of conservative tripe without realizing it is a total and complete sham. You have to be completely ignorant of history or basic civics to take anything that conservatives say with anything but disdain and disgust. dick armey, former congressmen, millionaire, and the financial creator of the tea baggers did not even know that Alexader Hamilton favored a strong centrql government with soveriegnty over states. Duh.

Posted by: John1263 | April 10, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

roberts had "credentials" but was and is clearly an extremist ideologue who adheres to a fringe and long ago discredit theory of Constitutional interpretation. alito did not even get basic backing from his colleagues on the lower court because he is so ready to abandon basic principles of law, precedent, written law, and the Constitution in order to forward a pure partisan agenda. In other words he is the worst kind of judicial activist. No pretense at following anything but an ideological course. He is disgraceful. He is just as bad if not worse that thomas.

Posted by: John1263 | April 10, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is pre-planned to smear Obama's nominee whomever it is. They will find an angle to lie about.

Sotomayor's remarks were taken out of context by opponents to try to cast her as racist. She was referring to the specific context of hearing discrimination cases, and being a judge who'd lived it verses one who never has.

Perhaps the balance of Media Inc. which is not Fox News nor Wingnut Radio, will refuse to wag the dog this time.

Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | April 10, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

WP far left or right of center readers posting here do not disappoint. Everybody else is either an idiot, a racist, an extremist, a communist / conservative used in a pejorative sense, or something much worse.

They did it during Bush's time because he was in the White House, and now they continue doing it because Obama is the White House. The truth is that in their world view everyone but them needs to be castigated in the worst terms.....It is a far left or right of center intellectual attribute caused by either too much high academic indoctrination, or not enough of an IQ.

Posted by: HarGru | April 10, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

While it is true that it is hard to predict the future ideology of justices, I believe this article (from a political science and legal perspective) fails to consider the political climates in which justices like Stevens and Souter were appointed, as contrasted with those of today.

Conservatism in America, at least prior President Clinton had a greater focus on personally intrinsic "moral values" and extrinsic fiscal responsibility, and strength of national defense. While the conservatism of today retains fiscal responsibility and national defense in the extrinsic front, the ideological focus on "moral values" has likewise become extrinsic.

What this could mean for the appointment of Justices of today, is that, while conservatives did not place much emphasis on judges being socially conservative before, allowing the appointment of socially moderate and even socially liberal judges; the conservative push of today will more likely do the opposite.

Given this political shift (at least currently), conservative control of the WH and Senate is more likely to produce Justices that are indeed more likely to remain conservative throughout their tenure, and the opposite for more liberal control of the WH and the Senate. Justice Alito is a prime example because while serving in the 3rd circuit, he had already shown himself to be a strong conservative (unlikely to change his views now in the high court). also, while it is true that Justice Sotomayor has not completed her first term, she has already proven herself to be a more moderate judge and also unlikely to change her views from those attained in the 2nd circuit. the key focus here is not only on their illustrated ideologies, but on the vetting process of the WH for these 2 justices, each going to an extent to obtain assurances that they would remain constant in their views, concurrent with the political climate of the times.

Posted by: jlm062002 | April 10, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

spike591011: "Obama has said thus far to the Democratic base: you're not very important. Never mind that we put him in the WH. He had BETTER start pleasing us, the base, or he will suffer the most humilating defeat come 2012 that any candidate for president has ever suffered. A move one iota to the right of Justice Stevens would guarantee that Obama's base would leave him in a lurch."

Yeah, we'll show Obama. He'll feel really contrite when we ensure Palin becomes President in 2012. Genuis!

Posted by: marecek | April 10, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Thus far, Obama actions have been, at best, moderate by my measures. At first blush, his Supreme Court picks might seem to lean left; but, in the end, I wouldn't expect nominees to be left of middle. Perhaps they might even lean a bit to the right. As with Health Care, the ongoing wars, opening up offshore drilling, cabinet appointments such as Hillary, Tim, and Arne, and so forth, I think we can BANK on moderate judges.

Posted by: Doctor_Jon | April 10, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

to all, but particuliarly to the DIMocRAT leftists/BIGOTS:

as a "person who is other than white" (i'm a Native American & enrolled member of one of the 300+ Native Nations.) may i simply say that your BIGOTRY & PREJUDICE against everyone outside of your particuliar racial/ethnic/religious group & the constantly "playing the race card" makes you LOOK stupid, intolerent & just as EVIL as the worst of the haters/bigots/segregationists of the 1700- 2000 period?

btw, DIMocRATS, when are you going to dump the NATIONAL officer of the KKK, that is in your party & a current U S Senator?
(Robert "KKK" Byrd, DIMocRAT of WV, is a NATIONAL disgrace to every DECENT American, regardless of any "non merit factor", like skin color and/or what church you attend/don't attend. - but of course he's a stinky little DIMocRAT extremist, so his OPEN prejudice toward NON-Christians & HATRED of everyone without "a lilly-white skin" is A-OK with you, isn't it?)

DIMocRATS thy name is HYPOCRITE!

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 10, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

obama's a friggin loser.

he was absentee on a MAJORITY of u.s. senate votes....

but then, a community organizer (a boy scout) might feel intimidated when standing around REAL senators in congress.

saaaay... but didn't barack obama choose rasberry punch as the "official" punch for the 7th graders sadies hawkins sock hop dance when he was community organizer?

yes!

go obama, go!

Posted by: TheNewAmerica | April 10, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse


obama should NOT make this appointment.

why?

well... because THE UNITED STATES IS A DEMOCRACY.

a LIFETIME APPOINTMENT is ANTI-DEMOCRATIC

and by the way.. i have submitted this EVERY YEAR for the past 10 or so years...

Posted by: TheNewAmerica | April 10, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

I predice the most likely choices are Wood, Sears, and Sullivan, in that order. He is not going to pick Merrick or Kagan. Picking a moderate would be a waste of a good, and very temporary, 59 vote Senate majority. Midterm elections are won by rallying the base and boosting turnout. I think Wood is the most likely to boost liberal turnout in November, particularly among feminists and immigrants, but it is possible that Obama's advisers see more of a need to buck up other core groups such as Blacks (Sears) or gays (Sullivan). It will all come down to Rahm's data that tells him which groups need more positive motivation to turn out and vote.

Posted by: andrewp111 | April 11, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

This is true, and an authoritarian would be more likely to approve the constitutionality of the mandates in ObamaCare. So which of the known candidates is most authoritarian?

===========================================
On criminal justice issues Barack Obama is a right-wing authoritarian who puts the power and authority of government and enforcement above the rights and freedoms of the people. Sotomayor is a right-wing authoritarian who will, at every turn, defer to police against the people. There is no reason to believe that Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Democratic Party will not use this opportunity to pack the court with authoritarians for the next thirty years.

Posted by: aahpat | April 10, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: andrewp111 | April 11, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

aahpat,

actually BHO is GARBAGE, who said that the KLANSMAN, Robert Byrd, DIMocRAT of WV was a "credit to our party & a wonderful human being".

actually KLANSMAN Byrd is FILTH & a NATIONAL DISGRACE.

until the DIMocRAT HYPOCRITES throw him out on his BIGOTED ear & APOLOGIZE to the NATION for supporting that piece if TRASH all these years, i don't want to hear even one damned word about ANYONE else that the DIMocRAT Party says is a "bad person"!

DIMocRAT thy name is HYPOCRITE!
(tolerating a stinking KLANSMAN in your party, makes you JUST AS BAD as that piece of garbage IS! = this means YOU, BHO!)

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 11, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully we can elect Pres. Glenn Beck in '12, and he'll appoint Mark Levin to the Court.

Posted by: room101 | April 11, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Is this a new article, or a recycled one? the references to past and present events are hopelessly mixed. I am surprised that the other commenters found this coherent enough to comment on.

Posted by: yishaika | April 11, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse

i don't know how many of you are lawyers, so i'll clue you in on a basic fact. the decision that many, including our SCOTUS challenged president of you pan, citizens united, regarding campaign finance spending applies . . . drumroll, not just to corporations but to non-profits and labor unions and any other organized group of citizens who want to engage the political process. without going all first amendment on you, something about the fundamental right to free speech, what is so bad about that?? are you unamerican?

two their decision doesn't apply to campaigns but merely to issue advocacy. if joe blogger and jane facebook can incorporate political messages into their communication using new platforms, why shouldn't apple, john deere, the afl-cio or the red cross??? in your gut you know they shouldn't.

three, the core of the first amendment and the fundamental right to free speech is not commercial speech or pornography, both protected forms of speech to a lesser degree, but political speech and no political speech is more fundamental than that which is spoken in and around election time. don't like the speech? throw the flier away or change the channel.

here's the decision for those of you who are more interested than running your mouth about something you know little about; (http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/citizens-opinion.pdf) oh and by the way, it was written by justice kennedy, that pillar of 5-4 swing votes who manages to upset judicial conservatives as much as judicial activists of the left. happy reading.

Posted by: SoCalCMH | April 11, 2010 4:11 AM | Report abuse

i don't know how many of you are lawyers, so i'll clue you in on a basic fact. the decision that many, including our SCOTUS challenged president of you pan, citizens united, regarding campaign finance spending applies . . . drumroll, not just to corporations but to non-profits and labor unions and any other organized group of citizens who want to engage the political process. without going all first amendment on you, something about the fundamental right to free speech, what is so bad about that?? are you unamerican?

two their decision doesn't apply to campaigns but merely to issue advocacy. if joe blogger and jane facebook can incorporate political messages into their communication using new platforms, why shouldn't apple, john deere, the afl-cio or the red cross??? in your gut you know they shouldn't.

three, the core of the first amendment and the fundamental right to free speech is not commercial speech or pornography, both protected forms of speech to a lesser degree, but political speech and no political speech is more fundamental than that which is spoken in and around election time. don't like the speech? throw the flier away or change the channel.

here's the decision for those of you who are more interested than running your mouth about something you know little about; (http://www.scotusblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/citizens-opinion.pdf) oh and by the way, it was written by justice kennedy, that pillar of 5-4 swing votes who manages to upset judicial conservatives as much as judicial activists of the left. happy reading.

Posted by: SoCalCMH | April 11, 2010 4:11 AM | Report abuse

One problem. The article talks of justices getting more conservative since 1971, but I think that's iffy. The meaning of liberal changed enormously from Justice Frankfurter's days (and his retirement was only in 1963) and 1971. The New Dealers would have agreed with the modern conservatives in rhetoric that the Court's job is merely to be a bystander. It seems to me that what happened is that Liberalism marketed itself as New Deal long after its social ideas had changed (the comment about "Franco-style Catholic" gives us a good idea of just how much it has changed). Once the country realized that the Liberalism they thought they voted for was something different entirely (McGovern's campaign pretty much did it) then the public lined up behind conservative New Dealer Ronald Reagan and we have, ipso facto, been living in a center right country ever since.

Its possible Obama is serious about wanting to change this and that he wants to be an economically driven Liberal like FDR rather than a cultural revolutionary Liberal like McGovern. If he is serious about that, he could create a 60's style majority around economic issues, but the price is to appoint Justices that keep out of the political realm.....just like FDR! I'd be very interested to see what a Justice Scalia would say to a Justice Frankfurter or Jackson. Seriously, it seems to me that what the country has voted for all these years hasn't changed too much, but what the elites say "Liberalism" and "Conservatism" is has changed so much as to almost be a complete inverse of what it was in 1940.

Just some food for thought.

Posted by: pjthom81 | April 12, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

LOL,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,REALLY???

Posted by: barrysal | April 12, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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