Yours truly had suggested that the 7 Democratic senators' sell-out deal (that risked forcing the Republicans into the very unpopular "nuclear option") would, very quickly, backfire. Today, we get to see our first opportunity for same, when, in a historic announcement, America's first female Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O'Connor, 75, announced her impending retirement from the nation's highest court.
This is most interesting, in that it quickly puts the issue of who will replace Chief Justice William Rehnquist on the back-burner, at least for the time being, unless he uses the Court's summer break to announce his own retirement.
Forgetting that Justice O'Connor was on the wrong side on the two most important cases of our lives (Bush v. Gore and Padilla v. Rumsfeld), her last act, at least, was a defiant and correct dissenting opinion in Kelo v. City of New London. O'Connor will most likely best be remembered as the last thing standing between a now much more likely reversal of Roe v. Wade. My prediction is that the President will nominate Janice Rogers Brown, now of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals (albeit for a matter of weeks), thereby forcing Democrats to attack an African American female on ideological grounds, just three or four weeks after concluding that her serving on what is widely considered the nation's second most important court was not "extraordinary circumstances". It is always possible the President will try a more seasoned federal jurist, and try to reach out to Hispanics, in which case, he might tap Jose Cabranes of the Second Circuit in New York; I'm still leaning Brown, though, because he may feel the need to replace O'Connor with another female. A long shot may be his recent appointment, the President's good buddy Priscilla Owen of Texas, though I'm still thinking Janice Brown.
Our friend Bill Scher over at Liberal Oasis notes Justice O'Connor's retirement and offers this piece of advice on what might be a vicious, bitter confirmation fight for O'Connor's replacement, which will almost certainly boil down to the word "abortion". Folks, I told you this was coming when the judicial fillibuster sellout deal was announced; well, its no longer coming: it's here.
Worse, the Supreme Court keeps injecting itself into everything in an attempt to make itself yet a more and more important branch of government (which in the Kelo case at least, O'Connor was trying to stop). BTW-- I call on Nancy Pelosi to resign as minority leader immediately: when Tom DeLay takes a more reasonable position than you do on a measure of law (i.e. a proposed bill to cut off federal funds to projects involving land seized by eminent domain for private purpose under cover of the Kelo decision) that will hurt the poor and powerless (and isn't Terri Schiavo), then you know you just shouldn't be there.
Anyway... there you have it. Sandra Day O'Connor, retiring. This is indeed historic. In so many ways...
Get over Kelo. It wasn't that important. Government ahs had the authority to seize "blighted" private property and turn it over to other private party for years.
The narrow question before the court in Kelo was whether local governments ought to also have such powers over non-blighted communities. Now they do. The flood of abuse has yet to ensue in blighted areas and we shouldn't expect it to be any different in non-blighted neighborhoods.
Posted by tim at July 3, 2005 7:54 PM