February 6, 2009

After Ginsburg? "A woman? It seems certain. It’s inconceivable that the Court could be all-male...."

Jeffrey Toobin thinks Obama might pick a non-judge — maybe Janet Napolitano or Jennifer Granholm. Of the judges, Toobin flags: Sonia Sotomayor, Diane Wood, and Elena Kagan.

Think it's in bad taste to launch into talk about replacing Ginsburg as soon as we hear of her cancer treatment?

What's in worse taste?
Talk of replacing a Justice the instant we hear of her cancer treatment.
An elderly Justice remaining on the Court when seriously ill.
pollcode.com free polls


While we're at it:

If the Ginsburg seat is vacated is it necessary to replace her with a woman?
Absolutely. We cannot have an all-male Court.
The President should use a sex-blind selection process.
The President should give some consideration to the sex of the Justice, but not too much.
pollcode.com free polls

68 comments:

Seven Machos said...

She's a public figure whose life and death matters. She can deal with it.

If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen (note apt use of kitchen metaphor given gender issue).

Bissage said...

Think it's in bad taste to launch into talk about replacing Ginsburg as soon as we hear of her cancer treatment?

My opinion?

Sort of.

blake said...

The conservative in me thinks she shouldn't be that important.

The liberal in me hopes she gets well soon.

Revenant said...

Should Obama limit his choices to women? No.

Will he? Yes. There is no way on Earth a Democrats is going to replace the one female Supreme Court Justice with a man. The party doesn't work that way.

Palladian said...

Apparently there's some vague new rule that the Supreme Court must "reflect" the population-at-large. Expect a new court-packing scheme from Obama, necessary to be able to seat at least one Justice for each approved population category, down to the transgendered dyslexic adopted blind lesbian Pacific Islander.

Nina Totenbag yesterday called Sotomayor "a twofer" because she's both a she and "Hispanic". No discussion of her judicial philosophy or record on the bench.

On the plus side, Janet Napolitano would be a three-fer and cover the female, Italian-American and presumed lesbian categories.

I think Obama should nominate Oprah.

ricpic said...

There's a woman's seat. A black seat. Sould Breyer retire a Jewish seat. It's horrible. Identity politics marks the death of merit.

Palladian said...

"The liberal in me hopes she gets well soon."

The empathic human being in me hopes the same. I strangled the liberal in me back in 2002 using a piece of organic hemp twine.

ricpic said...

Oprah would take-up two seats.

Okay, it's a lousy joke. Sue me.

Beth said...

There's a woman's seat. A black seat. Sould Breyer retire a Jewish seat. It's horrible. Identity politics marks the death of merit.

You left out the six white, non-Jewish male seats. All won by merit, just like the other three, no doubt.

sg said...

Kagan seems like a better fit to the SC than as Solicitor General. IIRC she doesn't have much litigation experience.

Regardless, my hunch is that PBO is more likely pick for the SC a law prof than a federal judge or politician. That would fit his pattern of appointing meritocrats. (Let's hope they've paid their taxes...)

Kirk Parker said...

Janice Rogers Brown.

Revenant said...

You left out the six white, non-Jewish male seats. All won by merit, just like the other three, no doubt.

Nobody chooses white males for high office for any reason other than merit, these days. It isn't like we've got a lobby that rewards folks for appointing us. :)

Seven Machos said...

Beth -- Can we not all agree that Roberts is more qualified than O'Connor?

Joe said...

Hillary Clinton of course.

(I shudder.)

Bruce Hayden said...

My vote is for Janet Napolitano. No, we don't need another Italian-American on the High Court. But she came out of my law firm when she went into politics, and so must be great.

I don't see it though. She just jumped to Homeland Security, and that is probably more appropriate. She had a great reputation in AZ as a lawyer, but then again, that was AZ. Besides, she was considered somewhat moderate while governor, and the crazies who were behind Obama are going to demand someone more stridently liberal.

fcai said...

Good luck finding a candidate who has paid their taxes.

Bruce Hayden said...

Apparently there's some vague new rule that the Supreme Court must "reflect" the population-at-large.

Except that it apparently has five Roman Catholics and two Jews. If it were to truly reflect America, it would probably only have about a half a Jew or fewer, 4 or 5 women (alternating), and a Catholic or two fewer. We need a Hispanic or two, but gays and lesbians would qualify only every 20th vacancy or so. Maybe they should alternate with a Jew for a Jewish/Gay/Lesbian seat.

Kirby Olson said...

I'm curious to know how important the Court is compared to the House, Senate, and the President.

Are all three 33.33 %, or is one branch now more powerful than the others?

Can one branch become weaker with a dumb-bell or groiup of dumb-bells, at their head?

Was the original plan to make them all equally strong, and has that set of checks and balanced listed in any direction?

I honestly rarely think about the Court.

Just as long as they don't put Rosie on the court, I think I'm going to be ok.

HelenParr said...

It’s inconceivable that the Court could be all-male

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

fcai said...

How about muslims? There are millions of them in this country - they should be represented on the court too, right?

How about Asians? And do we subdivide Asians into smaller groups?

It is time for Obamasan to start his plan for packing the court, a la FDR. That just might work this time.

Freeman Hunt said...

As a woman, I'm insulted by attempts to pander to me by my sex. Really insulted. Underlying that pandering is an assumption that women can't compete on an even field. Well, the hell we can't.

Just get a phenomenal justice. Race and sex be damned.

SteveR said...

I agree, Janice Rogers Brown would be an excellent choice.

theobromophile said...

I snarked, while rather inebriated on Election Night, that I wouldn't be surprised to see BHO choose a male to replace Ginsburg. Rationale: beyond abortion, Obama seems to have no awareness of the women's movement.

Let's not forget: this is the guy who took down Hillary Clinton in the primaries, lost to her in the popular vote, and then appointed Joe Biden to be his VP. Like he couldn't find a female governor or foreign policy expert to help round off his team?

somefeller said...

As a woman, I'm insulted by attempts to pander to me by my sex. Really insulted. Underlying that pandering is an assumption that women can't compete on an even field. Well, the hell we can't. Just get a phenomenal justice. Race and sex be damned.

The lady doth protest too much. It's politics, so don't get all agitated about it. Of course Ginsburg's replacement will be female. It's not pandering based on assumptions of female inferiority, it's just a version of what in the old days used to be called a balanced ticket.

RR Ryan said...

Ricpic- it may not be original on my part, but I don't think it's the death of merit, but rather the merit of death. All apologies for the typos. I have the world's worst wireless keyboard. At least that's my excuse.

RR Ryan said...

Palladian-not a bad idea. It would free up atleast an hour every afternoon for Perry Mason reruns.

Fake Barack said...

Separate is not equal. The only way to have true equality is to make sex a non-factor. I should chose the best candidate, but I will pick a woman.

As for poor taste, I am more concerned with taking care of the country than possibly offending one woman by suggesting that she should step down at the age and consider her health.

Most people twenty, thirty years younger can't consistently handle their job and chemo at the same time.

William said...

They say that if you have a job you like you'll never have to work a day in your life. Even better is to have a job where people have to suck up to you and subordinates do all the work. Then you'll never feel old and obsolete at the end of your working life. In fact there will be no end to your working life.... It's pathetic the way these old birds clutch and totter upon their aeries. Byrd, Lautenberg, Thurmond, Ginsburg, Kennedy--do these people feel that their many years and debilities give them some indispensable insight into the human condition that mandates their continued hold on power? There are other joys in life than the exercise of power. Try telling that to them. The fact that they wish to continue in office indicates their unfitness for office.

Simon said...

My assumption is that Diane Wood is on the shortlist, and she should be. Among the judges a Democratic President is likely to pick - which doesn't include any of the judges I'd particularly like to see on the court - Wood is clearly the best.

If Obama picks someone other than a judge or legal academic, he will confirm himself as shallow and incapable of understanding the work of the court. I sometimes think it is forgotten by partisans on both sides that this is a court; the high profile cases of great moment should not obscure the fact that it spends 99% of its time doing lawyer's work. That's no place for a politician, and that there have been great justices who have not previous served as judges - Rehnquist and Black spring to mind - they are exception not the rule.

Jason (freezing) said...

They should nominate Althouse. She's looks good in black and maybe she could get them to put some video cameras in there.

former law student said...

Alito should retire, letting Janet Napolitano cover both the Arizona and Italian-American seat by replacing Sandra Day O'Connor.

Instead of Diane Wood, I suggest Kimba Wood, who with Judge Kozinski were elected Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary, back in 2004. Both are Chief Judges of their respective circuits, so they have talent as well as good looks.

If Ginsburg held on till a Democratic President, why did Rehnquist hang on? Was he hoping that Kerrey would replace W.?

Curtis said...

Madame Justice Michelle Obama! She's a 3fer. She's a black female lawyer and she definitely has the inside track with The One.

Mike said...

Had a buddy who contracted pacreatic cancer. Unless the state of medical science is vastly improved in the past 10 yrs., it won't be long.

Fake Barack said...

Apparently the tumor they removed was pretty minuscule, which suggests she wasn't sitting on for a while, waiting for me to get in office, but I guess it is fun to pretend.

Simon said...

former law student said...
"If Ginsburg held on till a Democratic President, why did Rehnquist hang on? Was he hoping that Kerry would replace W.?

I don't think he held on. From various accounts I've read of the chief generally and his last months specifically, my sense is that he was a tough-as-boots old lutheran who felt that as long as he could do the job, he should stay. This wasn't a bill Douglas situation - Rehnquist's health may have been failing, but his mind and his sense of humor never left him, so far as we can tell. He was writing well and cracking jokes on the bench until his last days there. So I think he wasn't holding out - I think he felt he was capable of staying, and that he was beating the cancer.

Nichevo said...

Yes, Kimba! Time for a JILF. Who cares about nannies or whatever, that's old news as Clinton would say.

Palladian said...

"Had a buddy who contracted pacreatic cancer. Unless the state of medical science is vastly improved in the past 10 yrs., it won't be long."

It has. Cancer treatment is one of those areas of medicine that progresses exponentially. The treatments available today are, in many cases, very much improved, even from as little as 5 years ago. Pancreatic cancer is tough but if anyone is going to get top-notch care, it's Ginsburg. She's at Sloan-Kettering, which trades "best cancer hospital in the US" spots with MD Anderson in Houston every few years.

section9 said...

Hillary, of course. Barack wants to drive a stake through the Clinton's power in the Democratic Party. Hillary on the Court ends their hold on the Party forever, and allows him to put his own stooge at State (namely, the insanely ambitious Richard Holbrooke).

amba said...

The fact that they wish to continue in office indicates their unfitness for office.

Take away the car keys.

amba said...

If we're to have a liberal, I want Mario Cuomo. Another Jesuit-educated Catholic.

American Liberal Elite said...

Obama should do exactly what GHW Bush did with the Thomas nomination: select the single most qualified candidate without any regard to optics whatsoever.

blake said...

I'm sure that's a real zinger for people who hate Thomas.

Mitch said...

Janice Rogers Brown
If only....

Lisa said...

It's unacceptable that there is only ONE woman on the court. Given the fact that HALF of our population is female, only a sexist selection process (and prior sexist selection processes at lower levels) could result in this kind of gross under representation.

Having said that, I don't think Obama gives a pigs fart about women; he's made that clear the past year.

The Drill SGT said...

Of the judges, Toobin flags: Sonia Sotomayor, Diane Wood, and Elena Kagan.


Elena Kagan is not of course a Judge. and she hasn't seen many judges in action either.


Forgive me for apparently being out of touch with the latest PC usages. i thought it was Gender, not Sex, for all references outside of a bedroom?

American Liberal Elite said...

Nouns and adjectives have gender; people have sex.

Crimso said...

"Except that it apparently has five Roman Catholics and two Jews. If it were to truly reflect America, it would probably only have about a half a Jew or fewer, 4 or 5 women (alternating), and a Catholic or two fewer. We need a Hispanic or two, but gays and lesbians would qualify only every 20th vacancy or so. Maybe they should alternate with a Jew for a Jewish/Gay/Lesbian seat."

It should probably be someone who hasn't paid any Federal income taxes. In fact, nearly half of the Court (were it to reflect actual Americans) should be made up of people who don't pay Federal income taxes.

Fake Barack said...

http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/17-01/ff_cancer?currentPage=4

You can't simply say that someone else had pancreatic cancer and didn't last long, so most people with pancreatic cancer won't last long. It all largely depends on when they detect it.

There are five stages of cancer, and detecting cancer early is the biggest factor in ensuring survival. I believe I read her tumor was only 1 mm across, so they must have caught it early.

That being said, I believe Ginsberg is 75 years old. Chemo and radiation won't be easy for a woman at her age. I can't imagine she will be able to work through chemo, and that is why she should be replaced.

downtownlad said...

All these men saying that we should just "pick the most qualified person."

As if Roberts and Alito were the most qualified. Give me a freaking break. Women make up 50% of the population. The chances that 9 of the "most qualified' judges would all be men, assuming men and women have equal intelligence is 1 in 512.

Can you imagine the uproar amongst men if the court had 9 women?

Women have a longer life expectancy - that should make them a more ideal choice if you really want to have an impact on future court decision. Obama should pick a bunch of 42 year-old liberal women for all of his Supreme Court choices.

downtownlad said...

And we already have at least one gay Supreme Court Justice.

Souter is gay. And it's extremely likely that Roberts is gay as well.

American Liberal Elite said...

How about Kathleen Sullivan?

former law student said...

It's unacceptable that there is only ONE woman on the court. Given the fact that HALF of our population is female, only a sexist selection process (and prior sexist selection processes at lower levels) could result in this kind of gross under representation.

I feel the same way about California's Senatorial delegation. Given the huge numbers of Hispanics and Asians in that state, only a gross sexist, racist, and religionist selection process could have produced two Jewish women, one from New York. It is a travesty.

downtownlad said...

What kind of logic is that Former Law Student. The chance of a State having two women as Senators is 1 in 4. Thus, you we should have about 12 states that have two women Senators. I can think of Maine off the top of my head and that's it.

OK - Start naming those 12 states.

Trooper York said...

"The President should use a sex-blind selection process."

Well that would be a much better way then how New York's Governor David Patterson hands out his jobs.

former law student said...

The chance of a State having two women as Senators is 1 in 4.

Not to get all cedarford on the group, but if Senate population reflected US population, there would be only two Jews in the Senate.

former law student said...

"The President should use a sex-blind selection process."

Well that would be a much better way then how New York's Governor David Patterson hands out his jobs.


I think sex-blindness affected Governor Spitzer's decision-making process.

Lisa said...

The Senate is elected, not appointed.

Simon said...

Lisa said...
"It's unacceptable that there is only ONE woman on the court. Given the fact that HALF of our population is female, only a sexist selection process (and prior sexist selection processes at lower levels) could result in this kind of gross under representation."

That's an overstatement at best. The exceedingly low rate of vacancies in recent years will have had a strong effect; moreover, you have to think about who was out there to be picked when there was picking to be done. If the only female judge available was Diane Sykes, who's a terrific but quite conservatrive judge on the Seventh Circuit, I think that very few of the liberals now saying the pick should be a woman would prefer that Obama appoint her than a liberal male jurist. Likewise, when Reagan was looking for a replacement for Powell, having already lost Bork and Ginsburg, let's say he decides to appoint another woman. Who's available? Who were the well-qualified, jurisprudentially-conservative female jurists ready to be appointed in 1987? Maybe there were some, I don't know.

Ironically enough, it was a grossly sexist selection process that very nearly doubled the number of female justices at the cost of appointing someone astoundingly unqualified. After Roberts was confirmed, Bush ordered an all-female shortlist. Greenburg, Supreme Conflict 248 (2007). Miers was the last woman standing (which I find preposteous, myself), and got the nod despite being embarassingly unqualified.

downtownlad said...
"All these men saying that we should just 'pick the most qualified person.' As if Roberts and Alito were the most qualified. Give me a freaking break.

Tough to imagine, all things considered, who would have been better qualified than Roberts to be Chief. There may have been someone better qualified (or at least better rounded) than Alito, but he was a terrific choice too, given the available pool of talent. At any rate, I don't think people are saying - or really mean - that qualfications are the whole ball game, unless qualifications are meant very broadly to include an acceptable judicial philosophy and other things not usually encompassed in the term.

AST said...

Why do they just hang on after they get sick and frail? Not just Bader Ginsburg, but others. I don't think SCOTUS justice should always be for life.

As for her replacement, who it should be and who it will be are totally separate sets. I'm expecting a black female with a record as a feminist activist.

Gene said...

Except that it apparently has five Roman Catholics and two Jews. If it were to truly reflect America, it would probably only have about a half a Jew or fewer

The left half, I presume :)

Cedarford said...

AST said...
Why do they just hang on after they get sick and frail? Not just Bader Ginsburg, but others. I don't think SCOTUS justice should always be for life.


That is because we made a great blunder in making Federal judges a lifetime aristocracy title - just as the Drafters were working hard to avoid lifetime titles, family nepotism, and "emulements"
elsewhere.
That makes a large percentage of judges unwilling to leave "their" entitlement, no matter what. Reinquist was bad clearly too disabled by the effects of cancer to have been allowed to continue in ANY other senior position of authority in government or the provate sector. And William O Douglas and the stroke-shattered Thurgood Marshall were in even worse shape.

HelenParr said...

black female with a record as a feminist activist.

Is Donna Brazile a lawyer? Because then that would bring the number of Catholics to 6 also.

Trooper York said...

"I think sex-blindness affected Governor Spitzer's decision-making process"

Yes but blindess-sex affected Governor Pattersons decision making process. So to speak.

Simon said...

Cedarford said...
"'emulements'"

LOL. Emoluments.

"Reinquist was bad clearly too disabled by the effects of cancer to have been allowed to continue in ANY other senior position of authority in government or the provate sector."

Nonsense. There isn't the slightest shred of evidence that Rehnquist's mind was negatively affected by the cancer, and when challenged to back up this assertion in the past, you haven't even tried. His situation did not resemble that of Douglas, who was by most accounts inform not only of body but of mind. I don't understand why you insist on discrediting yourself by sticking with this false and unsupported statement.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Please do Michigan a huge favor and appoint Jennifer Granholm, the biggest disappointment in the history of politics.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'd love to see Sarah Palin appointed, just to watch Andrew Sullivan's head explode.

Professor Althouse would be a good choice, especially if we could see her wearing those red shoes under her robes.

Eric said...

Had a buddy who contracted pacreatic cancer. Unless the state of medical science is vastly improved in the past 10 yrs., it won't be long.

There's more than one type of pancreatic cancer. If you have the type Steve Jobs had you can delay treatment for a year and still be around a decade later. But yeah, the more common type is pretty much a death sentence.

Of course, this is Ginsburg's second time around with cancer. Maybe she knows all the tricks to surviving.

Eric said...

Professor Althouse would be a good choice, especially if we could see her wearing those red shoes under her robes.

Men's shorts makers would declare a holy war against an Althouse appointment.