Justice Stevens to retire: Remember October before November

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Apr 9, 2010 1 Comment ›› Ben DuPré

Justice Stevens to retire: Remember October before November

(http://news NULL.yahoo NULL.com/s/ap/20100409/ap_on_go_su_co/us_supreme_court_stevens)Confirming what has been suspected for months, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is retiring (http://news NULL.yahoo NULL.com/s/ap/20100409/ap_on_go_su_co/us_supreme_court_stevens) at the end of the Court’s term in the early summer.  Justice Stevens had only hired one law clerk last year instead of the usual four, and as recently as last week admitted that he would retire during Barack Obama’s first term, so this news is by no means a huge surprise.

It does, however, set up another showdown between the White House and Senate Republicans, who clashed last year over the controversial appointment of “a wise Latina woman (http://morallaw NULL.org/blog/?p=759)” named Sonia Sotomayor to the High Court.  Just as Sotomayor replaced consistent liberal David Souter, Obama’s next nominee will replace a staunch liberal in Justice Stevens.  There most likely will be, therefore, no shift in the ideological balance of the Court.

The timing of Justice Stevens’ retirement allows not just Barack Obama to pick the nominee, but assures that a Democratic majority in the Senate (though not filibuster-proof) can ram through another activist, liberal justice more intent on fostering empathy than law.  It is hardly cynical to suspect that Stevens’ retirement this year was calculated to avoid what is likely to be a different Senate next year.  (Remember to Remember in November!)

This is hardly a time, however, to simply let the Democrats have their pick and call it an even liberal-for-liberal swap.  After all, there will likely be a conservative-TEA Party-Republican surge in November and we can “make right” a lot of the damage being done this year in Washington, right?  Perhaps some things may be undone, repealed, and overturned as a result of voter backlash—but not bad judicial nominations. Federal judges serve for life or until they retire, long outlasting the term-limited presidents that appointed them.

Case in point? Justice Stevens was nominated by Gerald Ford.

Sure, Congress has the atrophied power of impeachment to theoretically reign in or remove federal judges run amok, but that mechanism has largely shriveled and died from disuse.  Practically, America’s best bet for stopping activist judges is to stop them from becoming judges in the first place.  And that will likely happen on the battlefield of the United States Senate in the next few months.

Federal judges have given us legalized abortion, sodomy as a constitutional right, a mostly secular public square, and the arrogance to tell us they are the final arbiters of the meaning of the Constitution they so often abuse.  Are you mad about the health care bill, especially the individual mandate to buy insurance and the provisions that pay for abortion coverage? Then remember this: the next Obama nominee will probably be sitting when the Supreme Court decides on the lawsuits filed against the health care bill.

By all means, Remember in November. But don’t forget that those already in office in the Senate will be deciding whether to seat the next Supreme Court Justice for the new term starting October of this year. We can do, and should demand, much better than another Stevens or Sotomayor. So “gird your loins,” study up on the nominees, contact your Senators, and Remember April to October, too.

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  1. James E. Reeves says:

    We need to be reminded that God avenges and His judgement goes beyond the supreme court as a Theocracy made by a Supreme Being.
    How many have been weighed in the balances and been found wanting.
    The truth is some conservative judges have played the fool in the past and contributed to the problem of Judicial rule instead of constitutionality. This proves too much power corrupts doesn’t it?

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