Justice Stevens Keeps Us Guessing


As Jesse Walker noted in today's morning links, corporate-friendly Justice John Paul Stevens is inching ever closer to announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court, informing The Washington Post, "I will surely do it while [Obama's] still president." It turns out that at least one prominent official would like the 89-year-old justice to hold on as long as possible. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, ex-Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) said Stevens should give it another year, lest he derail the Senate from its important work this summer: "I think the gridlock in the Senate might well produce a filibuster which would tie up the Senate about a Supreme Court nominee. I think if a year passes, there's a much better chance we could come to a consensus."

I'm not so sure that a year's time will make the next nomination fight that much prettier, but as Specter's comments suggest, the Democrats would like the chance to find out. Of course, if SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein is correct, Obama will play it safe and nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan, who has received conservative support in the past and seems unlikely to spark any filibusters. But we'll know soon enough.