Supreme Court

Forget Ginsburg, Liberals Now Want Justice Kennedy to Retire While Obama Is Still in Office


Credit: C-SPAN

Over the past few years a succession of liberal pundits have urged Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to hurry up and retire already so that President Barack Obama would get the chance to name her successor. Alas for such liberals, Ginsburg has refused to oblige. In fact, she's basically told her would-be advisers to take a long walk off a short pier.

It now appears the liberals have a new target: Justice Anthony Kennedy. Writing at Real Clear Politics, Executive Editor Bill Scher argues that Kennedy's "best opportunity to extend his legacy beyond his years" is "to let a Democratic president and a Republican Senate name his successor." Here is the core of Scher's case for Kennedy's self-removal:

We can't know what Justice Kennedy, who turns 79 next year, wants in a replacement, let alone if the temperament of his replacement is a consideration in his internal deliberations. But it would be natural for him to want the court to retain the ideological tension he has done so much to foment. He single-handedly kept the court from veering wildly to the right during the Bush presidency and today induces much anxiety in the Obama White House.

It's true that Kennedy often casts the swing vote in tight cases, and that his jurisprudence sometimes annoys conservatives and sometimes annoys liberals (it also sometimes annoys libertarians). But none of that makes it any less silly to think that Kennedy would—or should—want Obama to fill his spot on the bench. After all, Kennedy has repeatedly spoken out in favor of federalism, in support of the Second Amendment, and against the expansion of executive power. The Obama administration, by contrast, typically takes the opposite view of such matters—and frequently loses big before the Supreme Court as a result. What's more, when Obama's signature legislative achievement came before the Court in 2012, Justice Kennedy was the one who read the joint dissent from the bench, arguing that Obamacare should be struck down in its entirety for violating the Constitution. Why in the world would Kennedy ever choose to let this particular president name his successor?


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  1. Wow, that is some utterly disingenuous stuff by Scher.

  2. After all, Kennedy has repeatedly spoken out in favor of federalism, in support of the Second Amendment, and against the expansion of executive power.

    On the other hand, a few days ago he voted to further shred the Fourth Amendment. We could do better just as easily as worse.

    1. You beat me to it.

    2. It’d be a lot easier, from a libertarian perspective, to do worse than Kennedy.


  4. Funny, because Kennedy was appointed as the acceptable “conservative” in place of Bork.

    1. Bork died in 2012, shortly after Obama’s election, and during a temporary surge in the president’s popularity. If Bork were on the SCOTUSBLOG instead of Kennedy, there’s be a 5-4 majority on the court right now.

  5. So are they close to admitting that Obama has fatally damaged the D brand?

  6. I looked at the paycheck that said $4961 , I accept …that…my neighbours mother woz like they say actually making money part-time on there computar. . there dads buddy haz done this for under twelve months and just cleared the loans on their house and purchased a brand new Nissan GT-R: .
    try this site and free register ———

  7. It makes you wonder if Sauron had similar troubles with the Nazgul. Did one not screech in tune/on time? he insisted on a brown horse? He’s the one who let Gollum go?

    re: the Justices…

    Is appointing a liberal justice (or 2) the only hope liberals have of destroying the constitution? you’d think they’d have a better plan. I think their possession of the educational system has likely proven a more-effective tool overall. As with everything, it seems that their pattern will be to ‘go too big’ and eventually provoke a backlash that sets them back farther than where they’d started.

    Really, the only thing not guaranteeing a GOP win in 2016 is the GOP

  8. I’d rather have a weak red president nominate and a weak blue senate confirm, but the current situation isn’t that bad compared to the red & red or blue & blue possibility.

    Besides, you don’t always get what you expect (think of Souter).

  9. This is a “No Brainer”:
    Ginsburg is a reliable vote for The Left, and they wan’t to force her out; whereas Kennedy is a swing vote, and his replacement by another “Ginsburg” would be a hard plus for The Left, greatly diminishing the possibility that Kennedy would carry a 5-4 decision against them.
    But, absent any great scandal (Abe Fortas, anyone?), just how do you “force” a Justice off of the Supreme Court?
    As I said, The Left is – once again – engaging in a “No Brainer”, because anyone with half of one would know that this is futile.

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