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Justice Stevens Is Finally Stepping Down

From a tear stained Associated Press:

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens retiring


Apr 9

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the court’s oldest member and leader of its liberal bloc, is retiring. President Barack Obama now has his second high court opening to fill.

Stevens said Friday he will step down when the court finishes its work for the summer in late June or early July. He said he hopes his successor is confirmed "well in advance of the commencement of the court’s next term."

The timing of Stevens’ announcement leaves ample time for the White House to settle on a successor and for Senate Democrats, who control a 59-vote majority, to conduct confirmation hearings and a vote before the court’s next term begins in October. Republicans have not ruled out an attempt to delay confirmation.

Stevens’ announcement had been hinted at for months. It comes 11 days before his 90th birthday…

Stevens began signaling a possible retirement last summer when he hired just one of his usual complement of four law clerks for the next court term. He acknowledged in several interviews that he was contemplating stepping down and would certainly do so during Obama’s presidency…

Stevens informed Obama in a one-paragraph letter addressed to "My dear Mr. President," officially received by the White House at 10:30 a.m. EDT, two minutes before the public announcement. The news came on a day when the court wasn’t in session…

The leading candidates to replace Stevens are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49, and federal appellate Judges Merrick Garland, 57, and Diane Wood, 59.

Stevens’ departure will not change the court’s conservative-liberal split because Obama is certain to name a liberal-leaning replacement. But the new justice is not likely to be able to match Stevens’ ability to marshal narrow majorities in big cases…

As the article notes, Justice Stevens may be stepping down in time to give Mr. Obama a chance to replace him while the Democrats still had a majority in the Senate.

If so, that may indicate that the Democrat ‘powers that be’ aren’t even confident that they will hold onto their majority in the Senate, come November.

Perhaps Mr. Stevens’ retirement is also why Arlen Specter has been been recently pushing Harry Reid to make him the chairman of the Judiciary committee.

He probably knew this day was coming, and he wanted some more time to display his brilliant (and so original) mind on TV. Before he, too, is ‘retired’ in a few months.

And speaking of timing, would it be too cynical to question the timing this announcement?

After all, this is a great way to bury the news of the first casualty of the supposedly wildly popular healthcare reform legislation.

And not just any casualty congressman, but the number two target of the Tea Party and other healthcare opponents.

Of course one can always question the timing of any ‘news’ out of the Obama administration, since they have always just finished doing something terrible that they would like to have ignored or covered up.

Lastly, it also occurs to us that this could turn out to be an opportunity for Mr. Obama to enjoy his very own ‘Sister Souljah’ moment.

If he nominates a merely moderately radical left-wing legal type to replace Mr. Stevens — he could ‘triangulate’ — and pretend that he is reaching out to the middle. Just as he has been claiming to be trying to do since he first began to campaign for the Presidency.

But of course he won’t. He will probably nominate that Chi-com from Berkeley, Goodwin Liu.

If not ‘Skip’ Gates.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, April 9th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Justice Stevens Is Finally Stepping Down”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Pack that court.

    If I were any of the remaining Supremes, I’d have a security detail that starts my car in the morning, I’d wear bulletproof underwear, I’d never pass a window and I’d have a food tester.

    The Obama Administration is capable of anything. In order to pack their court.

    • proreason says:

      Thomas is toast.

    • TwilightZoned says:

      Now you have me thinking and I have to agree, Thugacracy would entail using these sinister tactics. Whew! For a minute there, I let my guard down. Never a good idea as long as Barry’s in the WH.

    • GetBackJack says:

      I’d take another long look at The Pelican Brief

  2. Petronius says:

    We may have already seen the last (reasonably) legitimate presidential election in the US. Just wait. The 2012 presidential election is going to resemble the June 2009 presidential election in Iran.

  3. canary says:

    Stevens Stoic while other Supreme Court Justices looked puzzled & Alito shook his head and mouthed “not true” as a young aid to the right of screen looks wide-eyed. At least I think that’s him sitting near the Justice who has pancreatic cancer.


    Stevens resignation started with “My Dear Mr. President”. ? I thought Marilyn Monroe first used that term of endearment.

  4. JohnMG says:

    ……”that he was contemplating stepping down and would certainly do so during Obama’s presidency…..”

    Gooooolly, Sargeant Carter. Surprise, surprise, surprise!!

    So much for the impartiality of the judiciary—not that I’m as surprised as Gomer. Everybody should read Mark Levin’s book “Men In Black”. The destruction of our checks-and-balances initiated by the founding fathers began a long time ago. Only now they’re not even coy about their intentions.

    Just remember, one of our elected officials recently said, on film, “I don’t care about that Constitution.” In saner times he would have already been hanged. Today he’s held up as some sort of hero.


  5. Mithrandir says:

    One of our life-time appointed masters has decided that at 90 years of age, that is enough ‘service’ to his country.

    How did we ever get to the point where we have life-time appointments to anything in government? OH YEAH, we keep voting for lawyers to make special rules for their profession……I forgot.

    • proreason says:

      Mith, the Constitution states that the Supremes are for life. It was done to make them independent of the other branches.

      The only way to get rid of one is to impeach them, which I don’t believe has ever been successfully accomplished.

  6. MinnesotaRush says:

    And wouldn’t it be grand if the justices of the day (all of them – not just the Supreme Court justices) made a much more serious and sincere effort to get back to the Original Intent as envisioned by our Founders?

    ““The public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of our Constitution itself, and not according to judges’ views of fairness, reasonableness, or justice. I have no fear of constitutional amendments properly adopted, but I do fear the rewriting of the Constitution by judges under the guise of interpretation.”
    — Hugo Black (1886-1971) US Supreme Court Justice

  7. canary says:

    Well, after Justice Reinhardt retired, there were stories that the other Justices cast his vote, and humored him in his old age. And I think Conners has gotten a bit flaky in the head. And I have the greatest respect for my elders wisdom, many sharp as a whip & great memory.
    So, I think tests should be given, for new appointees. No need to get invasive on their health or meds, but see if they still understand the constitution.
    Interesting that Obama later worried about the admitting of drug use in his 94 book, might interfere with his one-time goal of being on the supreme court. Teleprompters might not be allowed by Judges.
    Obama might see a seasoned lawyer that defends muslim terrorists.

  8. xdannyh says:

    It would seem to me that the timing or this dirty vile mans retirement, so politically oriented, with the true aim of having a left wing loony confirmed by the senate before the results of the Nov election, should be held up as a crime against the founders and he should be held in public disrepute for as long as the republic endures.

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