NPR has learned that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire at the end of the court’s current term.
At 69, Souter is nowhere near the oldest member of the court, but he has made clear to friends for some time now that he wanted to leave Washington, a city he has never liked, and to return to his native New Hampshire.
Now, according to reliable sources he has decided to take the plunge and has informed the White House of his decision.
Souter’s retirement would give President Obama his first appointment to the high court, and most observers expect that he will appoint a woman.
So, who do you think Obama will nominate? There are many, many radical leftists out there that he could nominate. We already have a feel for what kind of judges he likes:
President Obama’s first appellate nominee, Judge David Hamilton of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, has a long résumé of activism that suggests clearly where his “empathy” lies. His first job, fresh out of college, was as a fundraiser for the Philadelphia branch of ACORN, the “community-organizing” group that has been accused of serial election fraud. He later served as a board member, and vice president for litigation, of the Indiana ACLU. And it is very much ACORN/ACLU/Obama-style “empathy” on display in Hamilton’s judicial opinions.
Lorie adds: Could the Specter switch make it harder for Obama to get the nominee of his choice? Here is an interesting analysis from William Jacobson.
Everyone, including me, has been blogging about how Specter defecting to the Democrats puts the Democrats close to a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, potentially allowing Obama to push through his agenda. And this seems true on most subjects.
But ironically, Specter’s defection may give Republicans the ability to filibuster judicial nominees at the Judiciary Committee level, so the nominees never get out of committee.
Huh, you say. Here’s the explanation, from Professor Michael Dorf of Cornell Law School at his excellent blog, Dorf on Law, written two days ago before Souter’s retirement was in play:
Does Arlen Specter’s defection from R to D strengthen the President’s hand in Congress? Perhaps overall but not on judicial appointments because breaking (the equivalent of) a filibuster in the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the consent of at least one member of the minority. Before today, Specter was likely to be that one Republican. Now what?
So, if Specter were still in the minority, he would likely have been that vote. Instead he is now in the majority. Don’t celebrate yet though, Lindsey Graham is on the committee.