Monday, March 29, 2010
Election-Year Confrontation Over Future of Supreme Court Appears Likely Should Justice Stevens Retire
NY Times: In Possible Retirement, the Likelihood of an Election-Year Confrontation, by Peter Baker:
WASHINGTON — No announcement has been made, but the widely anticipated retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens in coming weeks has the White House, Senate and lobbying groups bracing for an election-year confrontation over the future of the Supreme Court.
Although Justice Stevens has not disclosed his intentions, he has suggested he may announce as soon as next month plans to step down after 35 years on the bench, providing President Obama his second opportunity to shape the nation’s highest court. A new nomination could set off another charged ideological battle heading into the fall midterm campaign.
Wary of appearing presumptuous, the White House has avoided overt moves to prepare, but it already has long dossiers on a host of candidates after last year’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. If Justice Stevens retires, Democrats close to the White House said, the leading contenders will be three runners-up from last year: Elena Kagan, the solicitor general; Diane P. Wood, an appeals court judge in Chicago; and Merrick B. Garland, an appeals court judge in Washington.
The choice would depend in part on what kind of fight Mr. Obama is willing to wage amid other tough legislative battles. . . .