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"All I can say is this -- be careful what you wish for," Senate Judiciary Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said last week, before the second of three D.C. Circuit filibusters. "If the Democrats are bent on changing the rules, then I say go ahead. There are a lot more [Antonin] Scalias and [Clarence] Thomases that we'd love to put on the bench."
This is laughable. Before Republicans can appoint any judges, they have to figure out how they are going to get around the elephant in the room... er, that is... the elephant that's not in the White House.
Does anyone see a viable path to the White House for a Republican in 2016?
Scalia is 77 years old. At the end of Obama's term, he'll be 80. If he's still alive, he'll be 84 when Hillary finishes her first term.
Kennedy is 4 months younger than Scalia.
Thomas is 12 years younger than Scalia, which would put him at 72 when Hillary's first term concludes. Without meaning to be ghoulish, it's worth remembering that he's an overweight black man that's already lost a brother to heart disease. That's a lot of ticks on the grim reaper's scorecard.
As a longtime court-watcher, I've (and many others before me) often remarked that the Court's glory days as defender of the little guy are long past. I just haven't been able to figure out how we'd ever get any Justices in the mold of Thurgood Marshall past a Senate that grants so much influence to red state conservative Senators.
But hell... Now, Republicans are daring us to do it. And if we could get a President to nominate, say, Gordon Lui... Well, it'd be politically unthinkable for a Democratic Senate to deny him his power of appointment.
So I agree with Senator Grassely to the extent that folks should be careful of what they wish for. But maybe it ain't Scalias and Thomases Senators should be thinking about. Imagine Alito and Roberts (who's had seizures of his own, by the way... And Alito? Well, he just strikes me as someone destined for colon problems somewhere along the way....) toiling away in the minority for the length of their tenures. Honestly, those corporate sows would almost certainly resign their seats for greener pastures in corporate law, no?
Yup. Never thought I'd say this, but let's go nuclear.