Who Will Replace Justice Stevens?

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the court’s staunchest liberal, said Saturday he “will surely” leave the bench before President Obama leaves office, though he has not yet decided if he will retire this year or the next. Who might replace him? There are three leading candidates, according to Bloomberg News. A source says U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and two federal appellate judges—Diane Wood and Merrick Garland—are leading candidates. Both Kagan and Wood met with Obama and were leading candidates last year when the president appointed Sonia Sotomayor. Garland was one of nine finalists.


Filed under U. S. Supreme Court

10 responses to “Who Will Replace Justice Stevens?

  1. PrairiePond

    Goddess help us if the o man nominates Cass Sustein.

    • Zippy

      As you know,that’s what I feared last time and said so. It didn’t happen.

      Despite my strong doubts abou the concurrence in the blogging case, so far, Sotomayor has been thoughtful and not joining with extreme wing. I count that as a win.

      We haven’t yet haven’t yet had a free speech case, but even Stevens has been involved in damaging decisions in that area. That is one area where, if doesn’t involve sex, judges tend to be strong (when it does, well, look out–craziness ensues).

      I guess my point being is that I don’t expect a William Brennan or Thurgood Marshall from the man (though anyone’s goddess knows it’s time), but I don’t think we’ll see the truly scary dynamic with Anthony Kennedy change much.

  2. indypendent

    I haven’t had time to do any research about any of these candidates. But, I’m guessing it will be another woman.

  3. I haven’t either, Indy. And we know without a doubt the Party Of Hell No will oppose whoever it is (whether there is reason to or not). We’ll have plenty of time after the nomination is announced to hear anything and everything they can dig up and exaggerate.

    Justice Stevens hasn’t even announced his retirement yet.

  4. I think the exciting part of talking about SCOTUS appointments is that President Obama may have his second in the second year of his presidency. 😉 How many will be nominated by Obama?

  5. Here’s what Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter said Sunday —

    “I think the gridlock in the Senate might well produce a filibuster, which would tie up the Senate about a Supreme Court nominee.”


    See, they’re already planning to filibuster before Stevens retires and before any nomination is made. It won’t matter who, it won’t matter when, they’re nothing but THE PARTY OF HELL NO.

  6. Stevens tends to weigh in at oral argument at around the halfway point, and he does something that none of his colleagues do: he asks permission. “May I ask you a question?” or “May I ask you this?” Frequent advocates find this tic amusing and endearing, a little like the bow ties that he always wears. “However Justice Stevens is going to come out on an issue, he is going to do it in a way that is very friendly and avuncular and good-natured,” Paul Clement, who was George W. Bush’s Solicitor General from 2005 to 2008, says. “He’ll say something like ‘This is probably obvious, but I have this one question. Could you help me with this one point?’ An experienced advocate knows that you have to be on your guard, because he’s probably found the one issue that puts your case on the line.”

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/03/22/100322fa_fact_toobin#ixzz0kAcNFBoW

    • indypendent

      Maybe this wise man has learned the old saying – kill them with kindness?

      I can see Obama doing this with his political enemies.

      I remember Obama saying something to John Boehner or Eric Cantor that he was going to find something they agreed with eventually. And then Obama laughed that conciliatory laugh that he gives his enemy right before he nails their political hide to the wall.

  7. Justice Stevens is 90 years old and still loves his job. If we all could be so lucky.

  8. A clip of what The Votemaster has to say about the next SCOTUS nomination —

    “…Obama is well known for wanting to change the long-time direction of America rather than winning the 24-hour news cycle. He is keenly aware that Supreme Court appointments are a major tool for doing this and he surely knows the Democrats will probably have only 51-55 votes in the new Senate, as opposed to 59 now, so this may be his only opportunity to name a real progressive. The next vacancy after Stevens is likely to be Ruth Ginsburg (77), another liberal, who has had colon cancer and pancreatic cancer.

    So Obama has to weigh (1) his plans to change America (2) his policy agenda (3) the nastiness of the confirmation battle and (4) the midterm elections in making a pick. In terms of the confirmation battle, while conservative Democrats will pro-forma grumble about anybody he picks, none of them wants to be the deciding vote that defeats his nominee, especially if the nominee has a gold-plated Ivy League pedigree and years of relevant experience. But he needs at least one Republican to break the filibuster. No doubt he will concentrate on six senators to corral that last vote. Four of the 17 women in the Senate are Republicans: Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). By nominating a clearly qualified woman, he puts all of them under pressure to support her, lest the senator anger her female constituents. Snowe is up for reelection in 2012 and is the most likely to support a woman; Murkowski is the least likely.

    Two men are also going to be targets. Scott Brown is also up in 2012 and voting against someone who graduated from Harvard Law School or is or was a professor there is going to be hard to explain to the voters. Running against Harvard is easy if you are a senator from Texas but not so easy if you are a senator from Massachusetts. The other male senator who is potential vote is Lindsey Graham (R-SC). He served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the Air Force and is known to be a strong supporter of the rule of law. He believes that senators should not vote against clearly qualified nominees just because they don’t like his or her presumed politics. He voted to confirm Sotomayor to the court.”

    There is a list of “the names most talked about as Stevens replacement, sorted on age, always a factor in Supreme Court nominees” at his website (link above).