Open Thread - Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Retiring

What has been speculated on by many for a while now is official:

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, leader of the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, announced on Friday that he would retire at the end of this term, setting up a confirmation battle over his replacement that is sure to dominate the political scene this summer.

Many knew this was probably coming sooner or later since Justice Stevens had not hired on a full staff. a typical sign of a Justice that is retiring. Consider this a speculation thread on whom will be nominated - because you know that you want to - and an Open Thread. [update] President Obama is about to go live at 1:45 p.m. NOW to comment on the WV mine tragedy, and Justice Stevens’ retirement. Video below the fold.

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weighing in:

I had been planning to write a comprehensive post documenting the reasons why one of the clear front-runners to replace Stevens -- current Solicitor General and former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan -- would be such a harmful choice (similar to the post I wrote along the same lines about Cass Sunstein's record).  I'm not quite finished with all of my Kagan research yet, but in light of Stevens' announcement today, I do want to make one key point about this.

When President Obama chose Sonia Sotomayor to replace David Souter, that had very little effect on the ideological balance of the Court, because Sotomayor was highly likely to vote the way Souter did in most cases.  By stark contrast, replacing Stevens with Kagan (or, far less likely, with Sunstein) would shift the Court substantially to the Right on a litany of key issues (at least as much as the shift accomplished by George Bush's selection of the right-wing ideologue Sam Alito to replace the more moderate Sandra Day O'Connor).  Just click on the links in the last paragraph here, detailing some of Kagan's "centrist" (i.e., highly conservative) positions on executive power, civil liberties and Terrorism for a sense of how far to the Right she would be as compared to Stevens.

How about nominating an honest to goodness bleeding heart liberal for once? Why does the pro-business right get to hold claim to everything including our court system?

Justice Sotomayor seems to have already showed signs of being a little more interested in the human perspective as opposed to the fake human corporations. We really need five Justices that will take that view to the SCOTUS bench. That would seem to fall inline with liberal beliefs.

Here is to hoping one or two right wing SCOTUS activist judges are retired by serious scandals or something.

BradBlogs candidate suggestion in tweet:

RT @jamisonfoser
Disappointed 2 realize I do not have favorite potential SCOTUS nom //
Plz borrow mine: @JonathanTurley!

SCOTUSblog makes their best guess.

The Senate calendar will likely also play a role in the schedule to nominate and confirm a Stevens successor. The Senate is currently scheduled to leave town after the Fourth of July weekend for a “state work period” (Senate-speak for “we’re not going to be in our offices in Washington, but don’t get any ideas that we’re on vacation”) that ends on July 11. Another, longer “state work period” is scheduled for August 9 through September 12, leaving the period between July 12 and August 6 open for possible confirmation hearings and a vote before the Senate recess. As a practical matter, the White House would not want to wait any longer than that, as Justice Stevens has indicated that his retirement will become effective when the Court recesses for the summer; waiting until the Senate returned in mid-September would make it difficult for his replacement to get up to speed in time for the Court’s summer conference in late September and oral arguments on the first Monday in October.