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Friday, July 01, 2005

O'Connor's Retirement

This one is going to raise a lot of questions and generate an amazing amount of controversy. Barking Dingo has posted about the news, saying:
Previously, there was great talk about an imminent retirement announcement for Justice Renquist. Renquist stepping down and Bush being able to replace him would have done little to change the makeup of the court. Renquist is a staunch conservative who almost always voted in a conservative manner. Bush would undoubtedly nominate another conservative and the balance on the court would remain the same.

O'Connor's departure has many more implications. O'Connor was a staunch moderate and pragmatists. She was often the swing vote on the bench that would be the deciding factor between the liberal and conservative camps. Bush is now able to nominate a justice for her seat, and as we have seen in the past, Bush is adamant about naming only strict conservative justices.
I'm not sure I totally agree with Dingo, btw. In many of the recent noxious decisions O'Connor took a stance that fit in the conservative camp. It could well turn out that a "conservative" nominee might end up voting in the other camp, as Scalia did to support the medical marijuana ban. I don't believe justices can be adequately described as "conservative", "moderate" or "liberal". In any case, many of the justices appointed by Republicans have turned out to be rather liberal in practice on the court.


Comments:
Your point is well taken. I submit a lot of hard left liberals would have been delighted had O'Connor stepped down prior to the Bush V Gore vote.

I'll bet just about all of them, as O'Connor voted in favor of the President's FL win.

How quickly they forget.
 
Hey now... I didn't say I agreed with all of her decision. But I did like her style and her reasoning. My ultimate court make up would have 2 liberals, 2 conservatives, and 5 moderates.

We shall see what route Bush takes. Maybe once in his presidency he will try to be a uniter instead of a divider and nominate someone like another O'Connor to the bench (who had unanimous Senate approval). But I won't be holding my breath.
 
Call me cynical, but I can't help but wonder if Bush did nominate someone neutral, that the dems would still freak out just to be obstinate.
 
Esther - it won't just be the Democrats. I think the Kelo issue has really heated up the whole issue.

Dingo, I'm not necessarily criticizing your theory, but in practice I doubt you or I or anyone can possibly tell whether a judge will turn out to be moderate, liberal or conservative. In part that's because we can't adequately define either liberal or conservative. Is Kelo a liberal decision or a conservative one? To me it would seem more "conservative" in the traditional sense (but not in the originalist sense), but then the "liberal" judges are the ones who voted for it.

All I know is that I hate the decision!

I think when it comes to SC judges there are other things about their underlying principles that provide more sensible categories than "conservative" or "liberal".
 
"Call me cynical, but I can't help but wonder if Bush did nominate someone neutral, that the dems would still freak out just to be obstinate."

For now that seems to be the game plan. I would like to see some real polls to see if it is working or not.
 
Well, they think it's a big winner. They want to terrorize women with the idea that birth control will be outlawed along with abortions, etc, and convince every woman, at least, that she simply must vote for a Democrat.
 
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