July 12, 2005

Why Justice Stevens might retire too.

Stephen Bainbridge, citing an email from a "reliable source," says that Justice Stevens is planning to retire if the Chief Justice joins Justice O'Connor in retiring. This makes sense. If he thinks he may need to go before the end of Bush's term or if he thinks there is a good chance that the next President will also be conservative, he ought to take advantage of the current bunch-up. The best hope of getting replaced by a moderate rather than a strong conservative really is to have your vacancy become part of a three-person deal.


Mark Daniels said...

This is interesting speculation and the logic, if in fact it reflects the reasoning of Justice Stevens, is sensible. The three (or four) possible nominees mentioned by Bainbridge in his post also make sense if a judicial trifecta should happen. (Although judicial nominees can be difficult to anticipate.)

But I wouldn't be any more surprised by a Rehnquist decision to remain on the Court than I would be were he to resign. From afar, both possibilities look equally likely.

Bruce Hayden said...

Well, if J. Ginsburg also retires, then things get really interesting.

Sloanasaurus said...

Althouse is right on with this one. If Stevens is thinking politically, he will retire with the other two. (Who knows how they really thin...)

On another note, Conservatives should feel lucky that no Justice retired in Bush's first term. The most potent political argument Bush has for choosing any justice he wants is that he has the votes of the people behind him (even after Bush stated what kind of Justices he wanted).

In Bush's first term, even though he legitimatelly won the election, he did not win the popular vote. The Democrats would have had a very powerful political arugment in demanding a "consensus" candidate.

Today, Democrats have no political grounding for anything.

Kathleen B. said...

"In Bush's first term, even though he legitimatelly won the election, he did not win the popular vote. The Democrats would have had a very powerful political arugment in demanding a "consensus" candidate."

yeah right. do you even remember what Bush's first term was like? Bush stomping around claiming a mandate and never conceding for one second that he didn't even win the popular vote. Dems cowering in fear, and throwing themselves under his feet. Frankly, I would much rather have the confirmation now, with Bush tarnished and Rove tied up.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think politically, the President is in a strong position for judicial nominations. 1) He just recently won the election; 2) the gang of 14 deal helps him enormously.

The Rove issue is a different matter. I see it as Rove vs. the Press. It will be interesting to watch. The more the press moves on Rove the more they tie their own noose on future leaks.

Kathleen B. said...

Sloan: re: Gang of 14 deal. I am not sure if I believe that the deal helps Bush. If I may, here is some interesting commentary that it did not help the GOP:

"With the filibuster deal, we now have a weakened Republican Senate Committee [Dem Senate Committee has outraised them by 100%], seven of the ten judges were not confirmed, and the filibuster remains in place for the Supreme Court debate. Without the deal, we would have had ten out of ten judges confirmed, an excited Republican base, no filibuster available for the upcoming fight, and no national image improvement no matter what stance we took. Now, someone please tell me again, how exactly was the filibuster deal not more of a victory than a defeat?" http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/7/12/124743/795

Interesting, I thought.

Sloanasaurus said...

I guess the deal is helpful only if you would have been dissappointed to see the end of the filibuster.

However, the deal now makes a filibuster virtually impossible as you need at least 6 out of the 7 Republicans to agree that "extra- ordinary" circumstances exist. You have three senators (Dewine, Warner, and Grahm) on record saying that they would support the constitutional option if a judge was filibustered on ideological grounds. Now you have McCain, the leader of the gang, saying that he will support any strict constructionist nominated to the Court and will reject any filibuster.