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Another Waterloo moment? The Supreme Court battle ahead

With President Obama in the White House, it's pretty safe to say that there's no danger that the leader of the Supreme Court's liberal wing -- Justice John Paul Stevens -- will be replaced with an ideological opposite. But I really can't imagine Obama selecting a fire-breathing lefty out of Republican nightmares, either. So I hope -- and this is a very big hope -- that Republicans won't try to turn the confirmation hearings into yet another Waterloo for the president. It didn't work with health care, and I don't think it will work with the Supreme Court.

At some point, the GOP will have to become the "Party of Yes," as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told the Southern Republican Leadership Conference last night, with real alternatives to policies proposed by the Democratic majority and the president. It won't get there with a pitched battle over a high court nominee who might not be with them ideologically, but who also isn't outside the legal, moral and ethical mainstream.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 9, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Ahh this is really going to bring the nutty tea baggers out shouting!

I think this will be an interesting showdown and could have strong implications for the November elections.

The Democrats have the stronger hand as long as Obama makes a good pick that is fully vetted and perceived by independents and moderates as a good choice.

That will leave the ball in the GOP's court, if they decide to obstruct the nomination and it is viewed as obstructionist that could hurt them. If the tea baggers go bizerk as they often do I think they will help the Democrats cause over the GOP.

Should be interesting. With every passing day the GOP seems to be going further and further to the right. And it is not the "right" of yesteryear that was about fiscal conservatism it is a radicalized version that is fueled by hate, anger and xenophobia.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | April 9, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, our wimp president doesn't realize the Republicans will create a stink over anything he does. Even Liz Cheney has a problem with him calling out Hamid Karzai. Regardless, the President will compromise without receiving any credit for it and we will be stuck with a more conservative Court. I wish the President would realize that by pursuing some idealistic vision of bipartisanship, he isn't respecting the wishes of the majority of Americans that voted for change and he isn't preparing the United States for the tough times ahead.

Posted by: aksunder | April 9, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

So you are ok if Republicans give the nominee a hard time such as what Clarence Thomas, John Ropberts and Sam Allito went through? It's is amazing to see the liberal party falling so fast. Republicans have the right to make sure the nominee is qualified. Liberals are the worst at vetting cabinet members so I think Republicns should take very serious look at any nominee. Just look what happens when the press all but ignored Obama's radical associations. We are all now paying the price for the Liberal Press's failure to do it's job. Liberals Suck!

Posted by: Cobra2 | April 9, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The health care fiasco was indeed a "Waterloo" for the Dems. People are outraged not only by the result, but by the Chicago-style strong arm tactics used to pass it in the face of extreme popular opposition. The Dems are in for huge losses in 2010. We can revel in that -- until we remember that they will be replaced with Republicans. Well, at least gridlock will be a big improvement.

If good people cannot take over the GOP, we need a new party.

Posted by: jdadson | April 9, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Fire-breathing lefty or Scalia clone, Fox News will claim his nomination is bringing the end of days. You'd think the end of days would be good news to the lunatic right, but oddly it is not. So it doesn't really matter who he nominates. When every nominee is an eleven on the right's evil meter, the political fallout is the same.

As for a Waterloo, I am convinced that the health care legislation was Obama's Waterloo. Lord Wellington possessed only above average military skills and his battle against a half-dead Napoleon who only had a hundred days to form a government and assemble, train and field an army was a near run thing in Wellington's own words. There are plenty of surface-level analogies between Waterloo and Obama and the Republicans going back to Ronnie and 1980. Think of Clinton as Lord Nelson, without the courage, and it all makes sense. Obama is Lord Wellington, Pelosi is Blucher and with any luck the Republicans will fade away on some remote island.

Posted by: caribis | April 9, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I think you're right. Obama simply needs to do his job and nominate a moderate with impeccable credentials, like Sotomayor, and then we watch the extreme right foam at the mouth again. Hopefully a few Democrats can win this fall on the "I am not insane" platform.

One has to have faith that the country is going to recoil from these crazy extremists on Fox News -- otherwise educated people by the millions are going to have to flee to Canada, because the U.S. is going to be a very dangerous place.

Posted by: tboyer33 | April 9, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Whoever the president's nominee is the GOP will have a problem with him or her. Their leadership is already repeating the tag lines from the Sotamayor confirmation process.

Posted by: snake_taylor | April 9, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Health care may yet be the Waterloo Jonathan. The jury is solidly out. I notice Stupak announced his resignation. We will not know the fallout from it until November 2010 and then finally in 2012.

Posted by: hz9604 | April 9, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

A fire-breathing lefty out of Republican nightmares would be satisfactory to me and a refreshing change.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | April 9, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Republicans of 2010 want to take our country back to the 50s, not the 1950s, but the "1850s" and forsake their founding President. I say, as a 2010 Democrat, we should offer "Honorary Membership" to "Old Abe" so he can have safe refuge from revisionist Tea baggers.

Posted by: tniederberger | April 9, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Given that it's a matter of replacing a liberal with a liberal, I suspect that the GOP is not going to scorch the earth in oppsotion this time any more than it did with Sotomayor. When Kennedy retires, then all hell will break loose.

Posted by: tomtildrum | April 9, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

While Republicans are celebrating Confederate History Month, it's only fair we make Lincoln an honorary Democrat.

Cobra2 it's okay with me if Republicans give the nominee as hard a time as Thomas, Roberts, and Alito. That would at least mean they won't filibuster the nomination.

Posted by: leftcoaster | April 9, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Yeah but the Republicans hate black people, and people of any other race for that matter. So you know they will block ANYTHING that Obama does.

Posted by: hayden1 | April 9, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

And only conservatives work hard and love their country.
Liberals suck? Ok conservatives teabag.

Posted by: bgreston | April 9, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Why would the GOP ever do what Jonathan Capehart thinks they should do?

It's like Adolph Hitler saying, "I hope - and this is a very big hope - that General Eisenhower won't try to turn the scenic Normandy beaches into some sort of horrible, bloody battlefield!"

Posted by: pmendez | April 9, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

So you are ok if Republicans give the nominee a hard time such as what Clarence Thomas, John Ropberts and Sam Allito went through? It's is amazing to see the liberal party falling so fast. Republicans have the right to make sure the nominee is qualified. Liberals are the worst at vetting cabinet members so I think Republicns should take very serious look at any nominee. Just look what happens when the press all but ignored Obama's radical associations. We are all now paying the price for the Liberal Press's failure to do it's job. Liberals Suck!

Posted by: Cobra


Cobra, I do not think that that level is inappropriate, what Sotomayor went through was not "over-the-top". What Clarance Thomas went through was inappropriate (though I think he is an idiot).

All I am saying is that it will be a tough line to walk for the GOP. And I think depending how rilled up the tea baggers get they run the risk of being associated with an ignorant rabid mob.

While many Americans do not embrace a progressive agenda they do not approve of the conservative "base" that no longer sounds like George Will but Glenn Beck, and that, is sick.

Posted by: rcc_2000 | April 9, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse


In my opinion, yes, only conservatives love their country.

Liberals love the country they think they can turn the US into.

Posted by: pmendez | April 9, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan, I share your hope that Republicans will, at last, drop the vitriol and help solve America's challenges. But false "hope" is all it will be. We should not be naive.

Posted by: BBear1 | April 9, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse


are you really so IGNORANT, prejudiced & brain-DEAD as to believe that most people in the USA even care what race/ethnic group that the current LEFTIST, grossly unqualifed POTUS is?
(even "non-whites", like me, don't believe that more than a small minority of citizens care at all, that he's African-American. we do intensely care that he's a cheap, scheming politician, who has neither honesty or the minimum of qualifications to be POTUS.)

further, it's PAST time for the DIMocRAT party to STOP ever "playing the race card", ever again.
(this is especially true as long as the DIMocRATS have IN their party a sitting US Senator, who is a current/lifelong member & national officer of the Ku Klux Klan!)
DIMocRATS, thy name is HYPOCRITE!

what about 60% (and an ever-growing number) of the electorate DO intensely dislike is:
1. BHO's constant spewing of knowing LIES,
2. his arrogant ignorance of world affairs,
3. his incompetence at everything he tries,
4. his BIG mouth,
5. his needless/clumsy apologies to everyone in the world for every imagined slight,
6. his evident lack of "common sense"
7. his apparent willingness to say/do/agree to anything, no matter how immoral and/or dishonest for politcal power and/or money for his thugish friends.

BHO's dirty tricks, bribes, backroom deals & other outright dishonesty on "healthcare reform" has RUINED him forever in the eyes of many lifelong democrats (including many members of my family - they have left the DIMocRATS, forever).

if the 2012 Presidential election was tomorrow, BHO would probably lose at least 40 states, regardless of who his opponent might be.= the TRUTH is that FEW people (even those who like him personaly) trust him to keep his word and/or "play fair".

as i said on another PP thread, he makes bumbling Jimmy Carter look smart/competent & LYING Richard M Nixon look honest!

IF he had a bit of "common decency" he would go on nationwide TV & say,

"I gave it my best shot, but i've come to the conclusion that I'm unable to do a creditable job as your President. I have done many things which I should not have done & left undone many things that I should have done.
Therefore, 90 days from tonight I will resign the Presidentcy & return to private life. I wish Vice-president Joe Biden my best wishes, as he completes my term of office. I'm sure that he will do his best. Good Night & may God bless America."
(of course Obama is NOT intelligent, honorable and/or decent enough to do what is HONORABLE & resign!)

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 9, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

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