The Future of Justice Stevens...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by CalBoy, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #1
    So as many of you know, Justice Stevens is now 87 years old (and will be 88 at the time Bush leaves office) and is currently the most liberal justice on the Court.

    So, what happens to his seat when he retires? Even if the Democrats don't muck up this election (I'm not holding my breath since they seem to have gotten good at losing) who's going to replace such a liberal justice?

    Stevens is unique in the sense that he doesn't participate in Cert Pool, and writes the first drafts of his opinions (clerks normally do this).

    Then there's also the fact that because Stevens is the senior most associate justice, he gets to pick who writes the opinions when the Chief Justice is on the opposing side. This has allowed him to attract Kennedy to the liberal side by offering Kennedy the chance to write the opinion. What happens when that power shifts to Justice Scalia (the next most senior justice)?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #2
    We're in trouble. Every justice nominated in the last 35 years has been more conservative than the jutsice they were replacing. Stevens, when nominated , was middle-of-the-road, I believe.

    If the next President nominates anyone less conservative than Himmler the fundy/neo-con crazies will poison the air with hyperbolic stories about "socialism" and "partisan politics", my own habits notwithstanding.

    I think it will take another 10-20 years to undo the efforts put forth by "I've-got-mine" conservatives who've been patiently and effectively setting the direction of the Supreme Court.

    In short, I have little faith that anyhing can be done much less will even be attempted.
     
  3. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #3
    I think we'll see a turn around in the coming decade (probably by the end of the 2010s).

    There are going to be many seats opening up then (Scalia, Souter, Kennedy, Ginsburg, and Breyer will be ready to retire by then) so there is a lot of potential to reshape the court, but it's critical that liberals be appointed.

    I'm also hoping (mostly in vain) that by that time, Roberts will have gone Earl Warren on us and become a full-fledged liberal. :p
     
  4. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #4
    Yes, but at the moment we've got Republicans crying foul just because Democrats maybe won't let them rewrite the 4th amendment. When a "liberal" Justice is nominated (and remember, these people think "100 years" McCain is too lefty), how do you think they'd react to such a nominee?

    Also, the Justices on the Court who've been there longest are the least conservative ones. They're the ones most likely to retire, and we will have a epic battle on our hands just to get someone past the Senate who believes the Earth revolves around the Sun, much less match their "liberal" leanings.
     
  5. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #5
    With a fairly large majority of Congress being or becoming Dem in the next election (face it, that's going to happen) even with McCain in the WH, it'll be an uphill battle to add more arch conservatives. Even though it's possible, I don't think it's likely. Add a Dem Pres, and it's even more unlikely. Though still not impossible, as they very well could nominate someone who seems moderate, but is actually fairly conservative when they vote.
     
  6. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #6
    Although the Republicans have tried that in the past (Stevens himself and Souter are 2 examples I can think of right now) it's always backfired on them.

    It seems moderate Republicans like being liberal once they don't have to worry about politics...
     
  7. Peace macrumors P6

    Peace

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    #7
    That statement shows exactly the most damaging thing Bush has done during his "tenure" as King.
     
  8. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #8
    You have no idea how true it is.

    The two justices he's got in there won't be out for another 30 years. :eek:

    I just hope we can replace Scalia and Kennedy with two strong liberals. That should shift the Court back to a more appropriate balance.
     
  9. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #9
    But that would only occur when Scalia and Roberts are on opposite sides of an argument, no?

    IOW, not likely to happen very often.

    Anyone hoping for a Roberts conversion to liberalism is, IMHO, deluding themselves. The GOP has learned their lesson on that issue, and will have thoroughly vetted Roberts. He'll toe the corporate line, if not the religious line.
     
  10. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #10
    Well Stevens is the most senior after Roberts, so even if Scalia is somehow on Stevens' side, Stevens picks who writes the opinion.

    I actually read a NY Times article from September that pointed out how strategic Stevens is being on the Court (he's intentionally chasing Kennedy's vote). I'm worried that another liberal wouldn't bother to be as aggressive in getting that crucial fifth vote if Stevens was to retire.
    Some parts about Roberts' past are interesting though.

    He fought for gay couples trying to adopt, he's adopted two kids himself, and he isn't an evangelical Christian (IIRC, he's Catholic).

    Those aren't normal Republican traits.
     
  11. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #11
    I think you miss my question. If Stevens retires, and Roberts and Scalia are on the same side of an argument (pretty common, I'm going to predict), then who gets to pick? Wouldn't that fall to the most senior member of the side opposite the Chief Justice?

    Like I said, he may or may not toe the religious line. But he will most certainly toe the corporate line. The issues of gays and not being an evangelical Christian are not high on the list of priorities of the corporate-cons.
     
  12. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #12
    If the Democrats win the presidency this year and Stevens retires, assuming that congress reamains in the hands of the Democrats, it will be interesting to see if every judicial nominee gets their "up or down" vote on the floor of the Senate.

    I'm waiting for the first GOP filibuster of a judicial nominee so we can start talking about eliminating the filibuster with the Democrats in charge and hear what a bad idea it is from those who used to be all for it's demise.
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    Indeed, you can be assured that the sacred principle of the "upperdown vote" will be instantly absent from the Republican vocabulary once the shoe is on the other foot. Talk of the Democrats exercising the "nuclear option" will be met with scorn and derision from many of the same people who were touting it's virtues only a couple years ago.

    And they will be able to rationalize it somehow. Same way they rationalize the current GOP Senate delegation as being the most obstructionist in history, after 5 years of lambasting Democrats for being obstructionists.

    The sad thing is, the GOP is so much more effective at being obstructionists because they nearly always work as a near-unified voting bloc.
     
  14. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #14
    Oh, sorry. :eek:

    I think the next justice in line would be Kennedy.

    Would that be an interesting development! :eek::p

    I don't know...the neo-cons really hate anyone that doesn't fit nicely into the image of a 1950s family.
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    I think you're failing to make a distinction between the three pillars of the GOP (and yes, there is plenty of room for overlap between these catagories). Neocons, theocons, and corporate-cons. Justice Roberts, as I see it, is a corporate-con, with neo-con tendencies. He's a backer of big business, and will vote their interests every time. He appears to support the basis Cheney and Addington's theories of expansive executive power, but we'll have to see how far that support goes once some of those cases reach the SCOTUS, although based on the dismissal of the recent warrantless wiretapping suits, I'm not terribly hopeful that he will actually support the Constitution in that regard.
     

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