U.S. Supreme Court

supreme-court12From an article dated 10/20/2008:  Stevens has served the longest of the nine, and by next July he will have completed 34 years, only five justices ever recorded serving longer. (He is threatening the record in this obscure competition, which was set by the justice whose seat he took in 1975, William O. Douglas, who served more than 36 years.) Because of his age and length of service, Stevens is widely considered the most likely to step down, followed by Ginsburg. Both happen to be judicial liberals on a Court that has four liberals (Breyer and Souter being the other two) and four judicial conservatives (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts). The fickle Kennedy tends to provide the fifth vote in close cases, particularly those involving abortion, race, and religion.

  • John Paul Stevens, 88
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75
  • Antonin Scalia, 72
  • Anthony Kennedy, 72
  • Stephen Breyer, 70
  • David Souter, 69
  • Clarence Thomas, 60
  • Samuel Alito, 58
  • John Roberts (the chief justice), 53

Souter has announced his upcoming retirement.  What does this mean?  Will President Obama have the opportunity to nominate three justices during his term in office?



Filed under U. S. Supreme Court

14 responses to “U.S. Supreme Court

  1. lilacluvr

    Interesting thought but one thing is for sure – the Republicans will fight him the entire way.

  2. They don’t have numbers. 😉

  3. lilacluvr

    And when have Republicans let the facts stop them from their incessant whining and overall hissy-fit throwing?

    They tend to lob their bombs in the media but lately their bombs have been duds. Hopefully, this trend will continue??

  4. iggydonnelly

    I am telling you fnord, you are starting to make me believe in fnord (not an easy thing to do), but I am sure by now you have seen the latest news about one of the Supremes retiring.


    He has not appointed/hired any clerks for the next session which fuels the speculation.

    • iggydonnelly

      Note to self: please read ALL of a post before you respond to it.

      “Mia culpa” as the Scalia would never say.

  5. iggydonnelly

    BTW, fnord, I went to the bookstore and ordered the books that talk about fnord. The clerk dutifully ordered it/them for me, and told me I might want to check out the “New Age” section for other subjects I might be interested in. I think that was a first for me. Firsts are not bad, are they?

  6. Zippy

    I am very glad that John McCain is not choosing their replacements, though I’m still a little concerned that Obama had Cass Sunstein as an advisor. Sunstein has a generally liberal outlook, but has said some positively scary things about executive interpretation of laws, along the lines of the Executive branch shouldn’t be punished for asinine reinterpretations of the intent of Congress, since the Constitution allow the Executive a role in interpreting the law in the political process, yadayada yada. It’s similar to the argument conservatives make–too similar.

    There is also the little matter of Eric Holder’s Justice Dept. legal filings to stop any lawsuits about torture etc. from even being heard–based on an abuse Bush-like interpretation of the “state secrets” privilege. This alarmed people enough Congressional Dems that legislation was enacted to essentially slap the Executive branch upside the head–whoever might be in charge and say “NO, you can’t do that!” I contacted my Congressional rep about it.

    Well, score one for the good guys!

    Dear Mr. {Zippy},

    Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding H.R. 984, the State Secret Protection Act. I appreciate hearing from you and share your support for greater accountability and transparency in the federal government. It is one of my highest priorities.

    H.R. 984 will strengthen disclosure by narrowing the scope of the “state secrets” privilege. This bill seeks to strike a balance between protecting sensitive information and providing an open and accountable government to all American citizens.

    As you may know, the Bush Administration invoked this privilege on many occasions to thwart lawsuits against the executive branch, claiming that such lawsuits would expose classified data, harming our national security. Ultimately, American citizens are the keepers of these pieces of our history. We must not give in to the notion that America must choose between its safety and its ideals. We can and we must achieve both.

    H.R. 984 was introduced on February 11, 2009, and was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary. Should this bill reach the House floor, I will support it with my vote.

    I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me on this issue. My job as your representative is to help you connect with federal agencies, access services and get your questions answered thoroughly. Please do not hesitate to contact me again in the future if you require assistance.

    Yay Gabby!

    Sorry if I got a bit off the subject, but I thought it was related. 😉 And the recent battle lines developing (see my previous comments on the “soul for Obama”) make me feel more comfortable about any eventual appointment.

  7. Zippy

    P.S. Read the linked headline. That stuff about “not changing the ideological balance” because Souter is supposedly so liberal? That’s bullshit. If Obama nominates another centrist (and that’s what Souter really is), yes, little will change.

    Personally, I think the Court is skewed so heavily to the right that it needs another William O. Douglas, William Brennan, or Thurgood Marshall. And soon. I came to respect Souter, but he joined enough annoying opinions (particularly earlier in his tenure), that I wouldn’t put in the same class as those folks.

    P.P.S. I can see the fnords! Honest! 🙂

  8. This is like the MOST off-the-wall question, no logic to it at all, but I’m going to ask because here at Prairie P&Ps we can do that! 😉

    Is Kathleen Sebeilus’ husband, who is a federal judge, even a possibility for a higher presidential judicial appointment?

    Here’s a little ditty I found on him:

    “Federal magistrate judge Gary Sebelius was appointed to an eight-term term to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas in 2002. He was formerly a partner in a Topeka law firm. Born in Kansas, he earned his law degree from Georgetown University in 1974.

    Judge Sebelius is reported to have a wonderful sense of humor and a great love of music. His record/CD collection is among the finest in Kansas. He downplays his role as advisor to his governor-wife, and prefers the title “First Dude” of Kansas.”


  9. lilacluvr

    Good question fnord – but I would assume if he is already a federal judge, then why wouldn’t he be eligible?

    But maybe politically it might be a bad move to nominate the husband of your HHS Secretary?

  10. lilacluvr

    Hey, I just thought – was Harriet Miers any type of judge before George W. Bush was going to nominate her?

    I only remember Miers as being Bush’s personal secretary or assistant? What did she do prior to his WH days?

    • Zippy

      Miers was a longtime lawyer and White House counsel but, no, she never served on the bench. This is from Wikipedia (so might be ‘wikiality’, but it accords with my memory!):

      Miers’ nomination was criticized from people all over the political spectrum based on her never having served as a judge, her perceived lack of intellectual rigor, her close personal ties to Bush, and her lack of a clear record on issues likely to be encountered as a Supreme Court Justice. Many notable conservatives vigorously criticized her nomination, and numerous conservative groups normally considered part of Bush’s political base planned to mount an organized opposition campaign.


  11. The main reason it came to mind is because Mr. & Mrs. Sebelius are facing living in two states far apart because of their federal jobs. This happens, but it’s not an ideal for most couples. There’s a lot of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ in politics, so I suppose getting the two in the same city would be a political favor.

  12. Supreme Court Justices Respond to Souter News

    The justices of the Supreme Court this afternoon (5/1/09) released statements reacting to news their colleague David Souter will step down from the bench. Their statements follow.

    Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: Justice Souter has served with great distinction on the Court for nearly 20 years. His desire to return to his native New Hampshire is understandable, but he will be greatly missed in our deliberations.

    Associate Justice John Paul Stevens: As Justice Blackmun accurately stated when Justice White advised us of his proposed retirement from the Court, an announcement of this kind “is an emotional occasion.” Because Justice Souter is such a good friend, my first reaction to his decision is one of real personal loss. Because I am confident that I know how his professional work will be judged by future historians, my more important reaction is that the Court will suffer a far greater loss than many now realize. I wish he had postponed the decision that he has just announced.

    Associate Justice Antonin Scalia: David and I have served on this bench together for almost 20 years — sitting next to each other at argument for all of that time. I will miss his always intelligent contribution to our work, but most of all I will miss his companionship. The only consolation is that I am sure he will be happy back in his cold and beloved New Hampshire.

    Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: The two months remaining in this term now become all the more precious to us, for we know our splendid colleague Justice David H. Souter will soon leave here for the home and the State to which he longs to return. In our free moments David was one of the best raconteurs, one of the most adept and amusing storytellers, I have ever encountered. In our conferences and deliberations all of us knew we had the guidance of a powerful intellect and a fine, dedicated jurist. The Nation should be grateful always for his integrity and absolute probity, and for his lasting contributions to our law and to the dignity of this Court.

    Associate Justice Clarence Thomas: I have been privileged to serve on the Court with Justice Souter for almost two decades. It is an honor to have been one of his colleagues at the Court. Though deeply saddened by the departure of a friend and colleague, I am comforted by the knowledge that the bonds of friendship that have been formed during our toils here shall happily remain firm. Virginia and I wish him much happiness and contentment.

    Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Among jurists with whom I have served, Justice David H. Souter is the very best. His level of preparation for the cases we consider is astonishing. He works so hard at getting it right. He is a genuinely caring man and a model of civility. Never have I heard him utter a harsh or unkind word. I count it my great good fortune to have known him as a working colleague and dear friend.

    Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer: As a member of this court, Justice Souter has given nineteen years of inspirational service to the Nation. David is a close colleague and a warm personal friend. I shall miss him here. So will we all.

    Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito: I was sad to hear of David Souter’s decision to retire from the Court. From my first day on the Court, he has been a wonderful colleague. He has dedicated so many years to exemplary judicial service. We will miss him deeply.