Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Justice O'Connor Retires

July 1, 2005. Justice O'Connor announced this morning she will retire from the Supreme Court as soon as a successor is nominated and confirmed. This is a position of dubious legality, because there is, technically, no vacancy on the court. And theoretically a president could nominate and confirm a dozen or more judges "in waiting," but that violates our constitution. Moreover, there is no law that would force O'Connor to step down.

I expect the Democrats to demand World War Three in the Senate. This is the time for Democrats to stand up, filibuster every right-wing activist, and explain to the country that Bush is not seeking people who will "faithfully interpret the law" rather right wing activists who will busily overturn precedents. This is the time to pull out all the stops and fight for liberty.

I urge anyone interested in stopping a right-wing nominee to write to your senator, a real letter with a stamp on it, with a terse but clear message. In particular, anyone in Pennsylvania, California, Ohio, Wisconsin (both senators), and New York should write to their senator on the judiciary committee (below).

Orrin G. HatchUTAH
Charles E. GrassleyIOWA
Joseph R. Biden, Jr.DELAWARE
Mike DeWineOHIO
Jeff SessionsALABAMA
Dianne FeinsteinCALIFORNIA
Russell D. FeingoldWISCONSIN
John CornynTEXAS
Charles E. SchumerNEW YORK
Sam BrownbackKANSAS
Richard J. DurbinILLINOIS

Dear Senator:
This Supreme Court vacancy is the reason I voted for you. I have supported you in the past, but I will not do so again unless you stand up to the Republicans and stop another right-wing ideologue from getting on the Supreme Court. There is no political advantage for you in acting like a conservative or compromising with them, to try to fool some conservatives into voting for you. They know how to vote for a Republican if they want to, and so do I. It is time to suit up.


Anonymous said...

More suggestions on possible action, via Kos:

# If you have a cell phone, sign up for People at the American Way's Mass Immediate Response site . This way, you'll be able to receive text message action items instantly as events break. (If you signed up during the nuclear option fight, you'll need to re-sign up.)

# Also sign up with the Save the Court, another PFAW website devoted specifically to this issue.

# Recruit friends and family members to the cause.

# Write to the President, telling him he should choose a consensus candidate to replace O'Connor.

...but good luck on that last one. Any guesses on who it will be? I know that RbR suspects it will be (gulp) John Ashcroft.

// posted by Bell Curve

Anonymous said...

Also, sage words from the New Republic:

"Democrats have to be realistic about a Bush nominee to the Supreme Court rather than be distracted by Roe v. Wade. Their best hope lies in a principled conservative judge as opposed to an activist eager to undermine Congress's power in the name of the Constitution in Exile. By this measure, Alito, Brown, Clement, or Garza may be worth a Senate fight. Luttig, McConnell, Roberts, or Wilkinson, by contrast, could well be distinguished appointments."

I especially like McConnell, but he just seems too damn normal for this administration. 

// posted by Bell Curve

Dr. Strangelove said...

If Bush's history is any guide, he will nominate an extreme right-wing judge and do whatever it takes to ram the nomination through the Senate, including invoking the "nuclear option" (abolishing the judicial filibuster.) In fact, I predict Bush will choose newly confirmed Federal Appellate Judge Janice Rogers Brown.

What? Outrageous, you say? Yes--but then, so was Bolton for the U.N., Gonzales for Atty Gen., Wolfowitz for the World Bank, Condoleeza Rice to replace Powell, and so on. Bush likes being outrageous. It makes winning that much sweeter.

And why will he pick Brown? Because she's more conservative than Scalia. Because it seems "natural" to suggest a woman to replace the first woman on the Supreme Court. Because as a minority, she will add diversity credentials to the Republican party, and be harder for the Democrats to oppose. Because she has already survived the Senate confirmation process once. Because it will be tough for any of the 56 Senators who already voted for her to turn her down, or for the 62 who voted to end debate to reverse their votes. And finally, because it will be a big stick in the eye to the Senate Republicans who tried to defy Bush earlier.

There's only one way to defeat such a nomination: brand new revelations that utterly assassinate her character. Unfortunately, such revelations simply may not exist. If he nominates Brown, you heard it here first.

But liberals, take heart: Sandra Day O'Connor was already one of the infamous "Bush v. Gore" five, so replacing her won't change that. And if there is anyone more scared than liberals that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, it's the Republicans, who know they will be crucified by the (previously silent) majority of the American public that really does support a woman's private right to choose.

Anonymous said...

I concur with McConnell. I actually taught a constitutional law class for undergraduates for years, where the first 1/3 of the class was reviewing a debate between McConnell and more liberal scholars that always, in my opinion, showed McConnell to be (a) reasonable, (b) principled, but (c) with the same "shrunken conception of liberty" of which Blackmun famously accused Rehnquist. I could stomach McConnell. He was intellectually honest, if nothing else. 

// posted by Law Talking Guy

Dr. Strangelove said...

btw, the quote is actually, "stunted conception of liberty."

Anonymous said...

I have read a handful of Rhenquist's decisions and he seems to always side with the state. By "state" I mean the STATE as in Livaithan not "state" as in State of Ohio or "states' rights." He is a constant supportor of the proposition that if government wishes to do something to or demand something from the individual, it may do so with very little limit on its power.

"stunted conception of liberty" seems a very accurate assesment of the man's world view.  

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Good point. This isn't how Supreme Court Justices typically retire? She's given her two weeks notice. I guess they'll have to escort her out of the building after that.


// posted by Burt

Dr. Strangelove said...

I understand that the contingent timing of O'Connor's retirement is of dubious legality, but it seems sensible to me. It's usually considered good manners to stay on the job until your replacement is hired.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and Republicans like to "run government like a business" so they shouldn't object to O'Conner adopting private sector practices for her retirement. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Dr. Strangelove: the ONLY relevant issue is precedent, not "good manners." I believe O'Connor's behavior is unprecedented. If anyone knows to the contrary, please let me know. 

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

I don't think the only relevant issue is the technical legality of O'Connor's mode of resignation, but there is precedent for it anyow. Here is Thurgood Marshall's resignation letter.

"My Dear Mr. President:

The strenuous demands of court work and its related duties required or expected of a Justice appear at this time to be incompatible with my advancing age and medical condition.
I, therefore, retire as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States when my successor is qualified.

Thurgood Marshall"

Anonymous said...

Similar excerpt from Warren Burger's resignation letter: "I have resolved to request that I be relieved as Chief Justice of the United States effective July 10, 1986, or as soon thereafter as my successor is qualified..." 

// posted by Dr. Strangelove