Stevens to retire from the high court?
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has hired fewer law clerks than usual, generating speculation that the leader of the court’s liberals will retire next year.
If Stevens does step down, he would give President Barack Obama his second high court opening in two years. Obama chose Justice Sonia Sotomayor for the court when Justice David Souter announced his retirement in May.
Souter’s failure to hire clerks was the first signal that he was contemplating leaving the court.
This is a sign that court watchers always look for. It's part of the pattern. Sandra Day O'Conner did the same when she decided to step down from the SCOTUS, and it's likely Chief Justice Rehnquist would have done similar had he not died. Stevens is the oldest member (at 89) of the high court, and it's longest serving justice right now.
Stevens has been a fairly solid liberal for the high court, and Barry will be looking for someone similar. Don't fool yourself in thinking that he'll go for a moderate. Barry's an ideologically-driven president, and there's no way in Hell he'd risk a Souter-esque or similar pick. He'll go hard Left, just as he did with Sotomayor. And we shouldn't be surprised if this pick is based on race like his first one was.
What does this mean for the court? Nothing, really. There will be no shift on the court. Both liberal and conservative blocs will be intact with Justice Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote. So don't panic over this if it's true. There are still four conservative originalists, four liberal activists, and the lone guy in the middle that has tended to vote with the conservatives more often than not recently.
What should the GOP do? Go after the nominee based on their credentials and judicial philosophy, as they did before, but stay away from the empty threats of filibustering the nominee. A couple Republicans tried that with Sotomayor and everyone -- including ourselves -- knew it was bluster and hot air. Barry was going to get Sotomayor whether we liked it or not. He'll get this one, too. However it would be nice if senators like Lindsey Graham wouldn't act like Chrissy Matthews with a thrill running up his leg. Graham's performance during the Sotomayor hearings reminded us of the same sort of slobbering love affair the media seems to have with Barry.