Tuesday, May 5, 2009

David Souter Exits Stage "Left"

It figures that the lackluster David Souter would give Obama a Supreme Court nominee so early into his term. Let's face it; had President G.H.W. Bush nominated even a garden-variety moderate, many of those narrow 5-4 high court decisions would have probably been a more definitive 6-3. The "stealth" nominee's other claim to fame, if you call it that, is and was to insure more through vetting of subsequent nominees.

Obama claims that he intends he put forward a nominee with empathy for people. We're all for empathy (although the job description primarily involves Constitutional application), but empathy for who--terrorists and criminals, and others who have chosen similar alternative lifestyles? Instead, how about empathy for law abiding, productive citizens?

The expectation is that Obama will nominate a down-the-line super liberal, who will then be pronounced by the fawning, worshipful media as a stone-cold moderate or better yet, a centrist. However, Sen. Hatch told Politico that Obama told him that the pick will be a pragmatist rather than a radical or an extremist, so time will tell.

Speculation is currently centering on Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the Second Circuit. Through the years, Supreme Court nominations have taken into account political, ideological, and ethnic calculations, so there is nothing new there. However, recall that President G.W. Bush attempted to nominate Miguel Estrada to the D.C. Circuit, but Senate Democrats using procedural trickery to prevent Estrada from receiving an up-or-down vote. The Estrada contretemps served as another failure of the Bush administration to use the bully pulpit. Had Estrada made it to the D.C. Circuit bench, the likelihood is that he may have later been nominated to the Supreme Court instead of Samuel Alito.

At NationalJournal.com, Stuart Taylor suggests that Sotomayor may have a problem with her handling of the controversial New Haven firefighter case which is currently pending before the Supreme Court. The New Republic also has reservations about this judge.

There is some talk on Capitol Hill from both sides of the aisle about nominating someone outside the judiciary, with more "real world" experience. For once, the lawmakers are making sense.