Thursday, July 07, 2005

Supreme Court vacancy

Put on your specs nodded. I blame the hours at the unspecified law firm. Consequently I can’t promise that I will post regularly until school starts again. The best way to know when I post is to download the RSS feed. Or you can send me an e-mail asking me to let you know when I post.

But for now, I must say something about the new Supreme Court vacancy. If Justice O’Connor was going to step down, I would have preferred she retired next year instead. The ensuing confirmation battle would have occurred right before the midterm elections and Republicans would have been under greater pressure not to appoint a hardcore conservative. Democrats would have scored political points with the argument that Roe v. Wade was in danger with only five votes. This worked in the past: they won the elections following a late 1980s case that chipped away at Roe and several senators suffered severe repercussions for voting to confirm Justice Thomas.

But now isn’t such a terrible time for Democrats for her to retire either. Although midterms are 16 months away instead of 4 months away, I think that if the nominee to replace her is controversial enough, it could cost the Republicans. But if they appoint someone too liberal, Christian conservatives could stay home during midterms. My mother asked if Gonzales was really Spanish for Souter. Just imagine if Chief Justice Rehnquist stepped down next summer. Then Republicans would really be caught between a rock and a hard place.

I think President Bush and Senate Republicans are all too aware of the dilemma they face. If they could get Chief Justice Rehnquist to step down now, they would have a much easier time of it. They could split the ticket, so to speak, in appointing a moderate conservative and a staunch conservative to try to make everyone happy and emerge unscathed.

In case there was any doubt, President Bush’s Social Security plan is officially dead now. No one is paying attention anymore.


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