Supreme Court

Will Obama Get to Pack the Supreme Court?

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said she intends to remain on the Supreme Court for at least as long as progressive judicial hero Louis Brandeis, who retired at the age of 82. Given that Ginsburg is now 79, and will turn 82 in 2015, it's safe to say President Barack Obama will get to make at least one appointment to the Supreme Court in his second term. Writing in today's Wall Street Journal, Jess Bravin looks at a few of Ginsburg's possible successors:

One name increasingly mentioned in liberal circles is Judge Paul Watford, 45 years old, who was confirmed earlier this year to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Judge Watford is a former federal prosecutor and corporate lawyer who clerked both for Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit, a Reagan appointee, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who at 79 is the eldest member of the Supreme Court….

If appointed, Mr. Watford would become the third African-American, after the late Thurgood Marshall and Justice Clarence Thomas, to sit on the Supreme Court.

Many believe, however, that if Justice Ginsburg retires, Mr. Obama is likely to seek a female successor. In that case, one name being mentioned is Ninth Circuit Judge Mary Murguia, whom the president elevated from the federal district court in Arizona. Judge Murguia, a daughter of Mexican immigrants, attended the University of Kansas and served as a federal prosecutor in Arizona under then-U.S. Attorney Janet Napolitano, now secretary of homeland security.

Obama replacing Ginsburg won't necessarily shift the current left-right balance on the Court, though it will certainly strengthen the liberal bloc. But that's not the only possible future scenario. For instance, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Anthony Kennedy are each currently 76 years old. These Republican-appointees would perhaps prefer to wait until a president of their own party is in office before retiring, but the unmerciful forces of age and health could command a different result. Needless to say, Obama replacing either of these two justices would have a profound impact on the future of both the Supreme Court and American politics.

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  1. Many believe, however, that if Justice Ginsburg retires, Mr. Obama is likely to seek a female successor.

    That certainly gives an uncomfortable context to the phrase “litmus test.”

  2. The President? should fudge pack the Supreme Court, good and hard. It’s what The People? who elected him deserve. Actually “requested” would be more accurate.

    As for the rest of us? We’re fucked right along with them, unfortunately. I plan to lie back and think of Mother England, whom we’ve decided to emulate fully after the initial break a couple hundred years ago.

    1. I plan to lie back and think of Mother England

      RAPE HUMOR. DISGRACEFUL.

      1. And soon to be unconstitutional once the new justices discover the Right To Not Be Offended By Sexism which has been lurking, unnoticed, in the Constitution for all these years.

  3. Andrew Napolitano should go apeshit progressive in the media and get Obama to nominate him, and then pull out his troll mask and go Full Libertarian on us.

    1. While that would be incredibly epic, I have trouble imagining that any former libertarian could convince the media of a volte-face in the specified time frame.

      1. I have trouble believing that Napolitano could keep a straight face long enough.

        1. I have trouble believing he’s potty trained.

          1. Stop projecting, Tony.

          2. I have trouble believing you’re not a retarded sockpuppet.

  4. So possibly 30+ more years of a hardline liberal block in the SCOTUS?

  5. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has often said she intends to remain on the Supreme Court for at least as long as progressive judicial hero Louis Brandeis

    Brandeis remained on the Supreme Court for 33 years. Ginsberg apparently intends to retire in 2026.

    1. I’d be interested to see the Opinions at that point.

      1. Ever seen Michael J. Fox’s autograph?

    2. Ahhh, the Strom Thurmond method.

      1. i’m convinced his staff pulled a “weekend at bernies” with him those last few years.

      2. Knocking up your black servant while advocating racist segregationist policies?

      3. Not entirely unheard of on the Court. Marshall, Douglas, all hung around too long. Reason itself covered this, some years ago.

        My understanding is that it was a lot worse, back in the day, before Justices had the good retirement packages that they get now.

  6. In my Wikipedia analysis of third parties, I’ve noticed the trend of running former VP candidates for President in later elections. If we don’t see another Johnson/Gray ticket in 2016, the Libertarians might run Jim Gray for President.

    Not only is this a terrible idea for generating publicity and support, but a think that he could serve a better purpose for the LP as a member of the “short list” for a SCOTUS nominee.

    Wouldn’t having that sort of list, and a prospective cabinet, help third parties generate support? Why hasn’t anyone already done this?

    1. A popular libertarian judge who is totally qualified and meets the identity politics standard is Janice Rogers Brown. Black, female, daughter of a sharecropper, was extremely liberal in her youth, great on civil liberties.

      1. Her legal qualifications include a long stretch on the California Supreme Court and her present tenure as a judge with the DC Court of Appeals.

      2. No libertarian would EVER get threw today’s U.S. Senate.

        1. Senator Fuckwit: “So let me get this straight – you believe that when the constitution says ‘Congress shall make no law…’ that it actually means what it says?”

          Libertarian SCOTUS nominee: “Yes.”

          Senator Fuckwit: “Get out.”

        2. Of course not. That’s why she needs to be presented without discussing her limited government positions. She’s black! Female! Daughter of a sharecropper!

            1. Then, when she’s not nominated, the opposition could go on the offensive, indicating that the administration is racist, sexist, and whatever other ist is available.

      3. A lot of Republicans (in the base at least) wanted her to replace O’Conner. Sigh

  7. We’ll get statist liberals from Obama like Kagan or Sotomayor instead of liberty-minded jurists like Scalia or Roberts!

    1. Exactly. Roberts is a disaster.

    2. True. Instead of Scalia and his new constitutional libertarianism, we could have a statist scumbag.

  8. Obama already nominated a female and a Hispanic. Including a female hispanic.
    I’m betting he goes for the black guy. Since the only black guy on the court is a conservative, I’m sure that African Americans feel they aren’t “really” being represented.

    1. I’m betting he goes for the black guy. Since the only he’s a black guy on the court is a conservative.

  9. Many believe, however, that if Justice Ginsburg retires, Mr. Obama is likely to seek a female successor. In that case, one name being mentioned is Ninth Circuit Judge Mary Murguia

    But we already have a “wise latina” on the court. I’m guessing he’ll probably want to “make history” by apointing a black female. Either that or the first openly gay SC justice. Perhaps a black female lesbian? Tick all the boxes in one shot, IOW.

    Whoever it is they’re guaranteed to be a lib-tard who doesn’t care about the 1st, 2nd, and probably the 4th ammendendments and outright despises the 10th.

    1. He’ll nominate a chick. Because until there are five women on the Supreme Court, they are under-represented.

      He’d love to do a two-fer, I’m sure, with a black chick. You’d think J R Brown would fit the bill, but I just don’t see it.

      He might get his two-fer by going for the first Native American Justice – Elizabeth Warren. She’s a Senator, so confirmation should be a breeze, and she’s from Mass, so there’s no real danger a Republican could get her seat.

      1. that’s chilling.

      2. That would be fuckin awesome from a watch it all burn while we smear our bodies with olive oil and dance like wild injuns standpoint.

      3. He might get his two-fer by going for the first Native American Justice – Elizabeth Warren.

        *barf*

        I still think he’s more likely to look for a black female. Or a lesbian since teh gays are the hot new protected class right now. Then again, come to think of it, Elena Kagan is a lesbian isn’t she? Or is she suspected of being one but has never officially come out? I don’t really keep up with that crap because I frankly don’t care about other people’s sexual preferences.

        Perhaps if he can’t find a progressive enough black female he’ll go the Warren route. Again, *barf*

        1. I don’t think Kagan is officially out, but I don’t think anyone doubts she is a lesbian, either.

          Personally, I always suspected Souter was gay. But, my apathy in all things gender/sexual/political remains unmoved either way.

  10. Could we at least hope for a liberal equivalent of Souter – or is it only Republicans who appooint candidiates who disappoint them later?

    1. That’s the trouble with Republicans in general. If you are supposedly anti-government, why are you working for the government?

  11. FDR threatened to pack the Court by proposing legislation that would add Justices. Obama is doing no such thing; he’s the duly-elected President appointing Justices as they retire or die. Take a Xanax, Root.

    1. FDR ended up packing the Court, by waiting for the justices to die off or resign.

    2. Maybe “packing” wasn’t a good choice of word here, given the connotations associated with it, but what in this article is untrue?

  12. Let us all not forget, Bush appointed Roberts and we all know what a friend of liberty he turned out to be.

  13. Lets head on down the road dude. Wow.
    http://www.privacy-on.tk

  14. As others have said, we’re fucked, so we numb ourselves with alcohol and weed and say “we fucking told you so” while it all crashes and burns.

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