It’s granted that Barack Obama will appoint a liberal to replace David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats in the White House are far better than Republicans at recognizing potential justices who share their interpretation of the Constitution. Too, the politicization of the nominating process has worked in the liberal’s favor.
George H.W. Bush picked Souter because he wanted a non-controversial nominee. Souter lacked a paper trail, an advantage at the time since abortion rights advocates were determined to make the appointment solely about whether Roe v. Wade would be overturned. Boy was Bush wrong.
Obama’s appointee to replace Souter may well come this week. It will be a liberal and, as such, won’t change the 5-4 balance on the Supreme Court, with Justice Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote. The President has said he wants a nominee who has “empathy” and “a little bit of a common touch” and “a practical sense of how the world works.” Sounds like he wants a politician, somebody like Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm or Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) said on Fox News Sunday that “I don’t care whether they’re liberal or conservative, I just want to make sure they’re not activist. I don’t want an activist on the bench.”
Dozens of potential candidates exist who would not push Republicans and perhaps Nelson to filibuster. This President does not look to me for advice, but if he’s smart a standard-issue liberal who’s not controversial would be the way to go. It’s a fight neither he, nor the nation, needs now.