Thursday round-up: Part I
on Apr 15, 2010 at 9:41 am
Commentators continue to discuss the so-called “short list” of potential successors to Justice Stevens.Â Bill Mears at reports that President Obama is expected to announce his nominee by early May and that Elizabeth Warren is â€œnow getting much less scrutiny than some of the favorites,â€ whileÂ Dominique Pastre at Fox News reports that the administration continues to expand the list and vet new candidates. Â TheÂ Ninth Justice also discusses recent developments on the â€œshort list.â€Â AtÂ NPR, Nina Totenberg reports on the weekâ€™s changes to the list of potential nominees, while Bob Egelko at theÂ San Francisco Chronicle reviews the â€œjuicyâ€ judicial record of Sidney Thomas and notes that the judgeâ€™s solidly liberal writings make him a long shot at best for the position.
Attention also focused on the individuals mentioned as â€œshort listers.â€Â Adam Liptak ofÂ The New York Times reviews Kaganâ€™s stint as Solicitor General â€“ which, he posits, â€œprovides unusually direct insights into how she would interact with her new colleagues.â€ Liptak notes that although Kagan â€œtangles regularly with Chief Justice Roberts,â€ she seems to have a good rapport with the justices.â€Â At theÂ Huffington Post, Linda R. Monk discusses Kaganâ€™s success at Harvard Law at uniting an ideologically divided faculty and concludes that she could be â€œanother Earl Warrenâ€ with the â€œability to unite the Court in seminal decisions on divisive social issues.â€Â At theÂ Boston Globe, Michael Kranish and Alan Wrizbicki cover the increasing criticism – even from the left â€“ of Kaganâ€™s lack of a judicial record. Â They note that the White House has been providing reporters with background information about Kagan in an effort to rebuff these â€œunfair and uninformedâ€ attacks.
Other commentators highlighted the political backdrop to the confirmation process. Â At the Ninth Justice, Kirk Victor speculates as to how Senator Specter â€“ who voted against Kaganâ€™s confirmation as Solicitor General â€“ might vote should President Obama nominate Kagan to the Court.Â Also at theÂ Ninth Justice, John Mercurio writes that â€œSupreme Court fights are more motivating to the right than the left,â€ and he predicts that Republicans struggling to unite will â€œreward the leader who puts up the most aggressive, and effective, voice of dissent.â€ Â In an opinion piece at the Washington Postâ€™s PostPartisan blog, Stephen Stromberg reports on Senator Lindsay Grahamâ€™s warning that a contentious confirmation process could affect the Senateâ€™s passage of a climate-change bill.Â Stromberg concludes that it is important to separate the two issues so that â€œfence-sitting lawmakers arenâ€™t encouraged to apply any disappointmentâ€¦over Obamaâ€™s nominee to the energy debate.â€ Â Finally, atÂ TIME, Katy Steinmetz wonders â€œwhether â€˜confirmabilityâ€™ has, more than ever following the draining health care fight, become the quality that will supersede all others in terms of who Obama chooses.â€
In a talk with law students at Duke University, theÂ AP reports that Justice Breyer offered advice to the eventual nominee, recommending that he or she â€œlisten to senatorsâ€™ questions and try not to get clever with their answersâ€ in an effort to be successfully confirmed.
On the subject of diversity, in a post at the Opinionator blog of The New York Times, Timothy Egan notes that with Justice Stevensâ€™ departure, the remaining eight justices all attended either Harvard or Yale Law Schools, and he urges President Obama to choose a nominee from outside of these two institutions.Â In an opinion column at theÂ L.A. Times, Michael McGough downplays the significance of a Supreme Court without a Protestant justice, writing that â€œProtestantsâ€¦are not marginalizedâ€ in American society and that â€œProtestant-Catholic-Jewish differences are less important that divisions in the culture wars that transcend denominational lines.â€Â He also suggests that a meaningful â€œdiversityâ€ selection might be a nominee that did not attend an Ivy League school. Â Finally, in an op-ed at theÂ Washington Post, George Will notes that though no sitting justice has served in elected office, the need for dramatic judicial intervention is sufficiently rare that there is only a â€œslight need to select politically experienced judges.â€Â Instead, Will argues, the most important quality in this nominee will be their â€œengag[ement] in protecting liberty from depredations perpetrated by popular sovereignty.â€