Obama and the Supreme Court: Will He Play It Safe?

Taking a look at the names most frequently mentioned as a possible replacement for Justice John Paul Stevens who is widely expected to retire this year or next, prospects aren't looking good for progressives.

Elena Kagan and Merrick Garland seem to be at the head of the pack. Garland, now on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is a former DOJ top prosecutor (Associate Deputy Attorney General) who supervised the Oklahoma City Bombing case. Conservatives would welcome him since he's known for siding with the Government in criminal cases and tough on terrorism. He's been called the Democratic version of John Roberts.

The third person who appears to be in the running is Judge Diane Wood of the 7th Circuit, who is considered more progressive than Kagan or Garland. (She, too, is a former prosecutor -- deputy assistant attorney general under President Bill Clinton.)

Republicans are trying to influence the decision already, promising "bruising battles" and saying Garland is his best bet. Why does Obama have to play it safe? He's already got his "signature issue" -- the health care vote -- behind him. He really has an opportunity here to effect some change, one that could last decades. I hope he doesn't throw it away. And can we please have someone who didn't spend decades working for the Justice Department?

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    Just please not (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:02:58 PM EST
    another Catholic.  I know, I know, that they all will be like Jack Kennedy who had to say that he would be guided first by civil law, not canon law.  But in a very Catholic city, I have seen too many DAs and other pols and lawyers not even realize how much their actions and words reflect how deeply that they have been inculcated.

    And I say that as a former Catholic, one who does realize so often that you can take the girl out of the church, but it's very difficult to take the church out of the girl.

    The court now is two-thirds Catholic, as I recall.  

    How about an atheist, or at least an agnostic? amid so many issues on the separation of church and state that needs reaffirming, and now.

    Sorry CC, but I think this is a pretty offensive (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:07:09 PM EST

    Sorry you think so (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:12:25 PM EST
    -- but if you haven't been raised in it, you cannot know the effects.  You could, of course, read the news lately, including the role of the DA in the Fr. Murphy case that is horrifying people around the world right now.

    As far as I'm concerned, you're (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:18:40 PM EST
    just digging a deeper hole. What about "no more Jews," or "no more Chinese?"

    No, sorry. I don't go for that.


    As far as I'm concenred, your usual (1.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:26:02 PM EST
    incisive logic is lacking, if (a) you think it's okay to discuss some aspects of identity politics, the ones okay with you, and not others, and (b) even more so, if you think that these aspects are parallel in application of major issues coming before the courts these days.

    Um, no (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:39:13 PM EST
    Discussing identity politics is fine. Saying that you would like to have more Jews/Atheists/etc. on the court is also fine. Saying "no more X" is not fine. It rings of categorical prejudgment.

    So it was just coincidence (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:48:17 PM EST
    and not another sort of categorical prejudgment that in the recent major Supreme Court ruling on abortion, the "partial birth abortion ban" case that was decided 5-4, all 5 votes against just happened to be the 5 Catholic justices then.

    Uh huh.


    Your explanation loses its force (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:52:01 PM EST
    when you consider that they were all appointed by conservative Republicans. By your standard, William Brennan himself would need not apply.

    Your comment reaffirms (1.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:01:27 PM EST
    that you really don't understand that politics is politics, but religion is religion.

    It apparently would shock you to learn that most Catholics are quite conservative.  The days of social-justice, liberal Catholicism are gone -- that was so 1940s-1950s.  Those liberal Catholics are gone, too, to the grave or to other faiths.


    I am not an expert on American Catholics (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:05:18 PM EST
    but I would expect that measurement to vary considerably by how you define "Catholic."

    There are tons and tons of "Catholics" in the northeast who are nevertheless quite liberal.


    Sonia Sotomayor (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Peter G on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:25:37 PM EST
    for example

    I had her in mind, yes (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:27:54 PM EST
    I await Cream City's insistence that Sotomayor either isn't liberal or isn't Catholic.

    I await Sotomayor's first ruling (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:36:38 PM EST
    on the next major abortion or birth control case.

    I hardly am alone here, as I know from other threads, in not knowing how she will vote -- wise Hispanic woman that she was, as she has said, in her hearings.  

    Hispanic Catholics are the hope of the church, frankly, in that many still are in the social-justice tradition long since abandoned here.

    However, that is more the Mexican Catholic tradition, which is not hers -- and the social-justice tradition does not encompass social justice on women's issues.

    So we will see -- as I expect that you two also just may have seen Northeastern liberals who are not so liberal when it comes to women's issues.  


    May be a gender divide here methinks. (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by oculus on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:42:32 PM EST
    I agree that we should wait and see (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by Peter G on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:50:08 PM EST
    on Sotomayor, CC.  My wife's background and point of view are very much like yours, by the way.  Some of her family is very conservative Catholic, and some liberal.  We have a lot of friends who are ex-Catholic, and also quite a few who are [otherwise] progressive "social action" Catholics, and I agree that of the latter, even the Catholic Worker radicals and Berrigan-ite pacifists, their views on reproductive rights range from pro to anti.  Cases on that issue are few and far between at the S.Ct., of course -- less than one per year.  Nevertheless, of utmost importance when then occur.

    Yes, you understand the oddities (none / 0) (#44)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:34:06 AM EST
    and hypocrisies of even the "liberal" Catholics.  I was raised to know them all, with one parent a strict "catechism Catholic" and the other educated in college in the Catholic Worker tradition.  It was quite an education for us with that odd couple.

    And your wife and I may be cousins.:-)  A lot of my many cousins, especially those on the West Coast but also one now in Washington, D.C., are wonderfully compassionate people on many issues -- volunteering and donating and more for the poor -- but extremely conservative on many other issues.

    And among my many siblings, interestingly, the most liberal have remained in the heartland.  The two who became quite conservative, the only two who still actively practice Catholicism, are on the coasts -- one also in Washington, D.C., and one in the most liberal area of California.  But both are rabidly anti-abortion and anti-women's rights on other issues as well.  They still follow the advice on those issues from the pulpit.


    This is wonderful. (none / 0) (#35)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:23:34 PM EST
    What a shock.  The Northeast is liberal!  And by the tonnage, yet -- if a new definition of what is called "heavily Catholic" in other areas of the country.

    This map just never gets old for you, either, huh?

    Of course, the rest of us use it for a joke, not actually for a map.


    Oh that map is deliciously wicked. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:40:59 AM EST
    No it doesn't. If 2/3 of the Supremes (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by bridget on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 07:28:54 PM EST
    are X = Jews, Catholics, Atheists, whatever, to say "No More of X" is an absolute Must. As is ... there are way too many Catholics on the Supreme Court. Scary.

    That wasn't a hole. It was your blind spot. (none / 0) (#43)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:46:23 AM EST
    Why is it ok to discuss whether (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by observed on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:18:24 PM EST
    a nominee is white or black, male or female, but not whether he is Roman Catholic?
    That's a distinction that matters!
    Since the RCC is essentially issuing fatwas, I think the question is very relevant.

    I assume you would object (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:19:19 PM EST
    if someone suggested that there be "no more blacks" right?

    I agree with Cream here (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:13:58 PM EST
    A person's religion can tell you a lot about that person, especially if those relgious preferences extend beyond inculcation in one's youth to observance as an adult.  

    Most of American politics can be understood by knowing the religious preferences of those involved....Sure, you can have atheist, free-market Republicans....But it was not until Reagan harnessed the Evangelicals that Republicans took power....Without them, the Ayn Rand types looked sophisticated--but lost elections....

    With a Surpreme Court nominee, religion can  make a difference....

    What fascinated me was how the Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code really shook the faith of many conservatives and elicited a fierce counter-attack from conservative Christian apologists....It was as if in fighting a movie that popularized the Gnostic Gospels (among other things), they were fighting a foe as mighty as Darwin....

    The opposition to the concept of Global Warming is largely based on religion--although that is rarely discussed.....One cannot over-estimate the role religion plays in our politics and....

    The current scandal involving the molestation of deaf boys by a Catholic priest....and that letters were sent to Ratzinger on that issue, will be a big blow....and the response of conservative Catholics will be interesting...

    And Cream is right about the Social Justice Catholics....The days of Liberation Theology and how powerful and empowering that was to the poor of Central America are long gone.....Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between conservative Catholics and Calvinistic pre-determinists....i.e., we are rich because we are chosen by God or are virtuous....Terrible shame.

    I think one needs to take into account the religious views of a potential Supreme Court pick--to understand the likelihood that those religious views will be pushed on us all.


    I'm going to have to use the term (none / 0) (#57)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:54:57 PM EST
    "Calvinist Catholics"!  So contrary to the teachings on the sacramental purging of original sin, but what you say is so true in the attitudes toward the poor, the needy, etc., of some of today's conservative Catholics whom I know.  If those attitudes were held in the church in which I grew up, we sure didn't hear them then.  Now, those attitudes tend to be trumpeted.

    I don't know the likelihood, of course, that even some of the justices would push their religious views upon us all, as you say.  I would have thought not, considering the great intellects and great grounding in the law of most of them.  Then came the recent major ruling on abortion that split exactly along Catholic/non-Catholic lines.  That the line could be called a political split, too, did not reassure that it was not the same line, somehow.  

    So I express my concern on the future court on such religion-related issues -- and not only abortion, as there are so many fronts in this war.  As you note the current concern re pedophiliac priests, I would note that some case concerning this could rise to the high court, too.  

    (I have met some of those deaf men and others abused, here at ground central of that case, and they are not going away.  Some have been active on this for almost four decades now -- it's just that the New York Times decided to get onto this now . . . and I begin to wonder whether it could have something to do with this possibly coming debate on the future high court.)


    Four decades? (none / 0) (#58)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 02:57:19 PM EST
    What can you say about that.....

    More and more, it seems like current organized religion in America is about self affirmation/validation, telling each other myths that justifiy one's social and economic standing....a reaction to fear of the rapid pace of change--change across-the-board in just about everything....

    Jesus was a capitalist and loved the unbridled free market, etc.....How you can get that out of the four Gospels, I have no idea.  But many Christians who fear their economic and cultural advantages are slipping away sure seem to believe it....And they say only liberals project their values onto Jesus.

    Religion can often be more cultural than theological...but that seems so much more the case now....

    Judaism can seem more cultural than theological....but Judaism is a minority ever-struggling to survive.....

    And it seems conservative Christians now feel persecuted too.....but not in the traditional sense....more persecuted by the unkind and unaffirming facts of modern life....So, they seek relief via reactionary pushback against modernity....How different than Judaism's effort to survive through learning and education....But Christians have long held the reigns of power and think that by exercising raw power, rather than by out-thinking others, they can hold back the tide....

    How will conservative Catholics respond to their belief they are being persecuted?   More reactionary retreat from modernity?  

    I think more reaction against the Vatican.....A friend of mine, a practicing, liberal Catholic told me the Church was dead above the Parish level--the Bishops and Vatican did not matter.

    And, the Supreme Court comes into the middle of this vast sea change in our life....and we need to know who the reactionaries are going to be....


    There is a reason (none / 0) (#59)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 03:11:18 PM EST
    social conservartives detest (read: fear) secular Western Europe....Without religious conservatives, America would look a lot more like Western Europe (France and Great Britian) politically and economically.....

    So, godlessness means the....gasp, social welfare state....Ergo, the social welfare state means godlessness; thus, helping the poor means you are godless or on the road to godlessness.....

    Twisted but true....


    Yes -- early '70s exposes (none / 0) (#60)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 03:32:10 PM EST
    and extensive coverage was done on the abuse of the 200 deaf boys by Fr. Murphy in the early '70s in the media of the hometown archdiocese, Milwaukee.

    Those stories were the sources for much of the backgrounding in the New York Times' recent coverage, although almost entirely unattributed.

    It has been a long battle for them and for many other men in Milwaukee also abused.  There is a reason that their leader Isely and others are quite expert by now in publicity, such as his stand outside the Vatican last week.

    No way are they going away.  And no way that the timing of this belated brouhaha now is coincidental.  There are, of course, many possible scenarios. . . .


    You didn't answer my question. (3.00 / 2) (#15)
    by observed on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:22:50 PM EST
    The fact is, people say "no more white males" all the time. Is THAT wrong?
    The big difference is that is not a central "black" authority telling blacks in government to flout the law, as there is with Roman Catholics.

    If 6 of the 9 Justices were black, (3.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Dan the Man on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:33:53 PM EST
    then it would be perfectly appropriate to say no more black justices please.  Of course, you would probably disagree.

    Yes, I would object to that (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:35:47 PM EST
    strenuously. however, I would not object to saying that it would be good to have more diversity on the court.

    Fine, play your semantics games (3.50 / 2) (#25)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:49:55 PM EST
    and put it this way:  There now are two Protestant justices.  When Stevens leaves, there will be but one.  How about more religious diversity for the poor, beleaguered WASPs!



    If I thought religion (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:55:16 PM EST
    were a relevant category for consideration, I might well. What I would not do is to strongly imply that members of certain religions were unacceptable.

    ah, there's the nub---a completely (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by observed on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 06:58:17 AM EST
    arbitrary category distinction.
    For the  life of me I don't understand why race or ethnic background are ok for you, but not religion. The first two barely matter in determining view, while the third can be huge.
    And there certainly are many  people who find any discussion of race offensive in this context, so you're not choosing a ground where everyone agrees.
    If religions were not using their power to tell politicians how to act and judges how to rule, we wouldn't need to consider religion; unfortunately, that's not the case.

    You keep ignoring what I wrote (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 07:38:25 AM EST
    It is not ok to exclude any broad category from the outset. To be perfectly serious, would you still be fighting me if I had objected to CC saying "no more Jews"?

    It's only a difference of degree, IMO. (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by observed on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:23:21 PM EST
    Saying that you prefer a member of one group IS excluding members of another, at least at the first level.
    Turning your question around, suppose the court had 4 members who belonged to a religion which had officially decreed that gays should be executed. I would have NO problem saying "no more".

    CC's preference is issue-based, and not about prejudice.


    I agree that it's a matter of degree (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 04:19:32 PM EST
    but the distinctions really aren't so subtle. I assume you can name public figure Catholics who are pro-choice, including the speaker of the house. Again, we're dealing with questions of definition, but "no Catholics" is obviously a different kind of statement from "no Nazis."

    Who's the other Protestant, (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Peter G on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:55:56 PM EST
    besides Stevens?  I think you're wrong about that, CC.  If you're thinking of Thomas, he converted to Catholicism about ten years ago.

    Yup (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:02:28 PM EST
    Two Jews, six Catholics, and one Protestant.

    Yikes, you're right (none / 0) (#33)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:02:49 PM EST
    -- I was thinking of the last one lost, though, Souter.  Replaced, of course, by a Catholic. :-)

    Exactly my thoughts, so thanks (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:23:49 PM EST
    for saying this.

    Andgarden can do identity politics on gender, on race, etc. -- but not this aspect, which can be as or more formative for so many people.  But perhaps not for a commenter, perhaps not raised in such a faith, subjected to 12 to 16 years of religious schooling, etc.?


    We don't have real confirmation (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by observed on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:30:53 PM EST
    hearings, which forces people to make guesses about justices' politics from their past and their identity.
    Furthermore, it appears that one can simple lie straight up in confirmation hearings with no penalty.

    Really? I think lots of people (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by masslib on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 11:35:57 PM EST
    have said and would agree we have a Court that doesn't reflect the religious diversity of the country.  I don't find it offensive.  Of course, I'm an Episcopalian.  Heh.

    I look at it this way ... (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Peter G on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:51:16 PM EST
    Religious heritage and training, as well as present adherence, or lack of it, does tend to affect a person's lifelong moral and ethical views, and overall philosophy.  Those perspectives inevitably affect one's interpretation of the most vexed and controversial legal issues, which is pretty much all the S.Ct. deals with, particularly in constitutional law, which is a lot of what they address.  I would therefore hope the S.Ct. would include justices reflecting the full spectrum of intelligent American perspectives on such questions.  (Not the least of which is liberal-progressive.) This country is about 50% Protestant Christian in religious identification, yet amazingly (for the first time in our history), not only are Protestants not over-represented on the Court there is actually only one:  Stevens ... plus six Catholics (not peas in a pod by any means, however) and two Jews.  I find it hard to imagine a President creating a Supreme Court without a single Protestant.  Hence, I question the conventional wisdom re: Kagan (who I believe is Jewish), and lean toward Wood (Protestant, I think), whom  prefer anyway.  (Women remain under-represented, even relative to the elite of the legal profession, at 2/9.)  Catholics, by the way, are around 25% of the US population, and non-religious/secular is around 15% -- far higher than Jews or any other minority religion.

    In all fairness, I should admit (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Peter G on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 05:46:12 PM EST
    that no one should give any weight to this opinion of mine (#26), no matter how logical or imbued with common sense it might seem: "I find it hard to imagine a President creating a Supreme Court without a single Protestant.  Hence, I question the conventional wisdom re: Kagan (who I believe is Jewish), and lean toward Wood (Protestant, I think), whom I prefer anyway."  I am famous (among my 3 friends) for having confidently predicted, when Alito's name was being circulated, that in such a large, diverse country as this, Bush would never appoint another Italian American Catholic from the Trenton, NJ, area, in addition to Scalia.  Nor would he create a majority-Catholic court, considering his evangelical Protestant base.  I mean really, wouldn't that be absurd? So, given my track record, take my other opinions for what they're worth.

    Perhaps it is time for a Unitarian or Muslim. (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:56:30 PM EST
    I'm rooting for a Bi, Devilishly Stylin Androgyne (none / 0) (#48)
    by Ellie on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 09:19:56 AM EST
    ... this time around.

    (Have you accepted Jesus as your Personal Shopper?)


    Good points (none / 0) (#51)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 10:32:25 AM EST
    Except to looK at it a different way - Catholics are the single largest denomination in the country.  While "Protestants" make up about 50 percent of the country, that is spread over many different sects- each with thoer own spectrum of beliefs.

    And for the record, American Catholics do not walk in lockstep with the Vatican, as evidenced by the fact that poll after poll shows wide majorities favor the use of birth control, a slim majority are pro choice and most are against the death penalty and for social justice.


    The views of American catholics (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by observed on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 01:25:35 PM EST
    are not relevant. The voting patterns of elected catholics and those in the judiciary are what tell the tale.

    Sure. So to reflect the proportion (none / 0) (#52)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 11:17:16 AM EST
    of the single largest denomination in the country (although that neglects differences between several sorts of Catholicism, too), you would like to see numerical representation similar to their proportion in the population?

    Fine, then which two current Catholic justices step down?


    I agree an atheist (none / 0) (#11)
    by kenosharick on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:15:10 PM EST
    would be a great choice. Never happen, though.

    Bright line shd view nominee's Religious Activism (none / 0) (#47)
    by Ellie on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 09:06:18 AM EST
    ... and whether that nominee is determined to (ab)use the powers of public office to advance and impose a particular religious movement, NOT whether a nominee is (whatev) or practices (whatev).

    They should be upholding and defending the Constitution and the laws of the land, not tweaking them to favor a pet religious sect.

    Scalia and scAlito both adopted Opus Dei (controversial even amongst practicing Catholics for their uninvited, unwarranted, unprecedented intrusion into individuals' private matters, eg, eliminating contraception.) OD is like other aggressively hardline religious sects whose adherents see public service as a means to an end: advancing and imposing certain "values" politically and judicially that aren't a part of what the people they are supposed to represent signed on for, NM those who belong to the same religious "family".

    The Constitution should trump the Piety Posedown and trendy movementarianism that has replaced the reasonable vetting process of nominees. Justices who are too weak-brained, weak-willed and frankly lazy to set their personal idiosyncracies aside don't belong in public service and should be impeached, like any other miscreant unfit for public service.

    Let's get that the f*ck back on the table.

    I still want to know if Scalia sodomizes his spouse, since he has reserved for himself the personal "right" to know what's up in individuals' private bedrooms but won't 'fess  up to what's going down (pun strenuously intended) in his own.  


    The question (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 10:01:41 AM EST
    answers itself.
    Of course Obama will play it safe.
    He always does.

    But he is also not a strong supporter of anything resembling a progressive agenda - so to expect him to do something out of character at this late date is, imo, a waste of energy.

    Yes indeed. Here's what always puzzles me: (none / 0) (#50)
    by Yes2Truth on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 10:27:16 AM EST

    Why do so many people still not "get it" about

    Obama?  He is no different than any other head of

    a large organization, which is to say, he first

    had to "earn his bones" (provide tangible

    evidence that he wouldn't challenge the basic

    premises of the status quo...which we can infer

    he did because otherwise, he wouldn't have

    received so much financial support (sic) from

    special interest groups representing the

    financial services and other industries).

    It's silly and a waste of time to pretend not to

    be able to predict if he will do the "right"

    thing.  The right wing isn't worried.  Why does

    the "left" wing act so naive?


    Since a president's Scotus (none / 0) (#1)
    by brodie on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 08:50:35 PM EST
    selection process has so many political considerations, given that usually there are a number of eligibles and worthies for the spot, it just doesn't make any political sense that Obama would go for yet another white male for the Court.  

    And a moderate at that.  Especially if the nomination occurs this political year, and with a mixed-bag HCR bill and fairly unpopular offshore drilling behind him, Obama is likely to need something or someone to buck up his Dem base.  Merrick Garland would do just the opposite.  O is not that stupid.

    Wood I'd like more if, frankly, she weren't already 59.  And I'm wondering if the much younger (49) Elena Kagan mostly fills the bill for lib/center-left, plus as she gets you another woman on the Court.  And a very smart one at that, who also has the advantage of being recently passed through the senate for the SG position.

    Yet, I'll bet money that it will be a woman (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 09:04:45 PM EST
    BTW, I think a Stevens retirement this spring would be a huge political bonus for Obama. Revving up the base before the fall is important.

    No retirement until next year (none / 0) (#63)
    by diogenes on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 06:32:51 PM EST
    If Stevens retires this year then Obama and the Democrats would take the political heat in November 2010 for nominating a leftist judge.  If Stevens waits until January 2011 then Obama can pick whoever he wants because there won't be an election until 2012.

    Seems to me if Pres. wants to solidify (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 09:12:24 PM EST
    his base he would for an African American, Asian American, or another Latino.

    You've gotta figure (none / 0) (#4)
    by brodie on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 09:34:58 PM EST
    O knows he's already got AAs covered, and they are the one group in the base most likely to bend over backwards to give him the benefit of the doubt, so long as he attends to basic economic problems.

    Latinos have been acknowledged with Sotomayor.  And Asian-Americans have long been the group most accustomed to being a down-list consideration.

    I suspect the one group in the base most disaffected by O's policies is the white liberal middle-class and elites and, to a lesser extent because of the HCR brouhaha over abortion, women.  

    You get a two-fer solution with a Kagan or Wood.


    Yeah, I think the calculus does go (none / 0) (#5)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 09:39:57 PM EST
    something like that.

    I think Scotus could use another (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by observed on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 09:43:46 PM EST
    gay white male.

    heh (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 09:53:23 PM EST
    Counting to one would be a good start. Out, that is.

    Of whom do you infer? (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:48:40 PM EST
    Diane Wood earned my admiration (none / 0) (#19)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 04, 2010 at 10:32:27 PM EST
    for her role, and especially her strong comments, in the Georgia Thompson case.  The link does not note, but as I recall, Wood also was one of those on the panel who pushed for Thompson to be sprung that day, to not have to spend even another night in prison -- quite unusual for the court to be so forceful on that.

    It was some vindication for a good, quiet woman who was horribly wronged, lost her home, and all for a (Democratic) governor to try to cover his wrongs.

    By view, she is the best (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by MKS on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 12:20:12 PM EST
    being mentioned imo....

    She reminds me of Sebelius, whom Obama likes very much....From Chicago....has to be one of the top candidates....

    And, Ginsburg may retire too....So, Obama could have three picks in his first term...but just replacing liberals (moderates, actually) with hopefully equally liberal justices....so status quo maintains....


    Yea Right (none / 0) (#65)
    by pluege on Mon Apr 05, 2010 at 08:29:50 PM EST
    he really has an opportunity here to effect some change

    What obama is that? Certainly not the one living in the White House.