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Obama and Sotomayor
Progressivism and the Supreme Court. The president and his first Supreme Court nominee, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor

My closing argument for voting to reelect President Barack Obama is a familiar refrain:

The Supreme Court and the Judiciary. [...] There appears to me to be no ambiguity for progressives on the importance of the president's reelection with regard to the Supreme Court. A loss by President Obama in November would be disastrous for progressives in terms of the Court. Justice Ginsberg is a strong risk to retire. Justice Breyer is 74. If there are vacancies in the Supreme Court, President Obama will appoint much more progressive justices than will Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee. This issue is as clear as any before us. Add to that the appointment of judges at the appellate and trial level, for many, if not most, progressives, I would hope that this issue alone could persuade regarding the urgency of supporting the president's reelection.

Supreme Court appointments have long-lasting effects. On the current Court, Justices Scalia and Kennedy were appointed by President Reagan. Justice Thomas was appointed by President George H.W. Bush. These Justices will likely sit on the Court for more than 30 years. Policies  MAY have long lasting effects. But Court appointments WILL have long lasting effects.

Any progressive who is considering not voting for President Obama need only consider this one issue. The next president will reshape a 5-4 Supreme Court. Whatever else happens in the next 4 years, nothing will have longer lasting effects. What's at risk? Women's right to control their bodies, of course. But much, much, more. In her latest column, Linda Greenhouse wrote:
I’m hardly the first — in fact, this close to Election Day, I may be just about the last — to note the court’s absence from the presidential campaign. Not only haven’t the candidates talked about the court, no one has even asked them. Every time a member of the audience at the second presidential debate, the town-hall debate, got up to ask a new question, I thought that surely the court’s moment had come at last, but no. Of all the words uttered at the national party conventions, “Supreme Court” barely passed the lips of speakers at either one.
I'm not as perplexed as the esteemed Ms. Greenhouse. At least not completely. Certainly Republicans in a general election campaign do not want to discuss their radical and extreme views regarding the Constitution and the Court. (Of course, in primaries, they are all "severely conservative," especially about the Court and the Constitution.) Democratic silence on the Court is less understandable, but they do polls, and they figure out what "undecided voters" care about.

My belief is that progressives should and do care deeply about the Constitution and the Court. Nonetheless, below the fold, I'll explain again why I believe it remains the most important issue of the election.

In April of this year, I wrote a post titled They Are Who We Thought They Were: The Extreme And Radical Republican Party:

Last week, E.J. Dionne wrote, "Right before our eyes, American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was. Yet this transformation is happening by stealth because moderates are too afraid to acknowledge what all their senses tell them." With all due respect to Dionne, who really has been good on this issue for some time, this is not a recent development. They are who we (the DFH bloggers) thought they were—a radical, extreme party intent on returning the country to a pre-New Deal state.
That post was presaging my belief that the Affordable Care Act would be struck down on Lochner Era premises. My prediction was wrong as to the result, but the Lochner Era reasoning was unnecessarily included as dicta in the deciding opinion of Chief Justice Roberts. I wrote a post titled A dark cloud on this sunny day: Roberts Court embraces Constitution in Exile:
On a happy day for many of us, where the Affordable Care Act was upheld in a 5-4 decision (PDF) authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, there is a dark cloud attached. The Chief Justice accepted the federal government's argument that Congress had exercised its taxing power in enacting the mandate. But rather than being a judicial minimalist and deciding only those constitutional questions that must be decided, the Roberts Court bulled on to decide issues that need not have been addressed—whether the mandate exceeded the Congress' Commerce and Necessary and Proper power.

And the Roberts opinion on the scope of the national government's power to address national problems is a shot across the bow to the Supreme Court's New Deal jurisprudence that underpins our modern national government.

Indeed, in a later post, I argued that the ACA decision makes President Obama's reelection more imperative than ever:
Jack Balkin, who in an interview with Adam Bonin and me presciently described the mandate as an exercise of the taxing power by Congress, wrote yesterday:
It's hard to predict what will flow from this opinion doctrinally. If President Obama manages to appoint a majority of liberal justices in his second term, most of the innovations in this case will be forgotten. The new spending clause doctrines will be confined, and the Commerce Clause language treated as dicta or made practically irrelevant. If Mitt Romney wins, on the other hand, he may be able to appoint a strong conservative majority to work with Chief Justice Roberts. Then, in hindsight, Roberts' seemingly compromised opinion won't be very compromised at all. His apparent flip-flop won't be understood as a change of mind. Instead, his opinion may turn out, in hindsight, to be the beginning of an important transformation in constitutional law. What will happen can't be deduced from the four corners of these documents. It will depend on the Supreme Court appointments of the next decade
Translation: There is no more important progressive project in this election year than the reelection of President Barack Obama.
I stand by my assessment. I hope progressives understand this and cast their vote for reelection of the president of the United States. If you care about women's rights, civil rights, economic justice, the environment, and any number of important issues, nothing is more important to the progressive cause than that.  
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Comment Preferences

    •  Ginsberg (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      devtob, DigDug, Senor Frog, Candide08

      Considering her health situation, Ginsberg's decision to not retire during Obama's first term remains one of the most selfish and irresponsible decisions I have ever seen.

      Let's hope we dodge a bullet and she and Breyer do the right thing (retire) during Obama's second term.

      •  What's with the idiot Wall Street Journal (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, IM, devtob, Senor Frog, dewtx

        shrieking this morning in its headlines that the race is "deadlocked"?

        It has been steadily drifting away from any hope of a Romney victory, and yet the tub-thumpers are desperate to keep up their hopeless narrative.

        All anyone has to do is look at Nate Silver's analysis this morning--

        http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/...

        "I can't play the game no more, I can't abide
        By their stupid rules which get me sick inside." —Bob Dylan

        by Pragmatus on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:00:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The popular vote is close... (0+ / 0-)

          so the WSJ twists it a bit, to try to project what they want.

          The electoral college is not very close at this time (see: http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/).

          I actually think it would be very interesting is Obama lost the popular vote but won the electoral college by a lot.  Maybe then both sides would seriously think about getting rid of it.

          "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

          by Candide08 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 03:51:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  she is going to retire in 2014 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IM, wasatch, bear83

        I believe she stated she wants to retire in 2014 the same age some other liberal judge she admired retired.  If Romney wins the supreme court will be down to 3 liberals once Ginsburg goes.

        •  Louis Brandeis. But if Romney won, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell, IM, wasatch

          I imagine she'd try to stick it out.

          •  And She Might Not Make It... (5+ / 0-)

            ...I kind of agree with the monumental selfishness sentiment above. Perhaps Justice Ginsberg does not have a progressive agenda. That is, she may vote progressively but not have a program she'd like to see achieved.

            We are completely screwed if Ginsberg dies or must resign during a Romney presidency. I cannot help but think of Thurgood Marshall being replaced by Clarence Thomas. From civil rights hero, defender of the common "man" to an extraordinarily cruel joke of a justice, a parody of Marshall.

            Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

            by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:42:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Justice Ginsberg Will Be Replaced by The NEXT Pres (0+ / 0-)

              NOT Barack Obama. There will probably be NO further Supreme Court appointments during Obama's second term at all.

              Many Justices hold on until they're drooling incontinents who die in office like Chief Justice Rehnquist.

              The ages of the Justices who might retire are:

              Ginsberg: 79. Although she's the most likely to retire, She's indicated she won't retire until 2014, at the EARLIEST. And it could be AFTER 2016. Don't count on her to be willing to leave before the 2016 Presidential election.

              She'd only be 84 in January 2017 and lots of Justices have hung on to power like limpets to their rock!

              She's said publicly (in 2010) that she'd like to stay until she's at least 82 (i.e. 2015) because that's the age Justice Brandeis reached and because staying on the Court helps her deal with the death of her husband.

              Well, the Democrats are likely to lose control of the Senate between 2014 and 2016 since the class of 2008 will be up for election and there are a number of threatened Dems in deep red states who will be up for re-election then. Dems are likely to lose at least 4 seats just based on which Senators come up for re-election. (AR & AK are virtually certain loses).

              If Republicans control the Senate in 2015 they simply will NOT appoint ANY Justice Obama nominates unless he's some kind of Conservative. They will wait Obama's term out just like they did THIS year when they blocked ALL judicial appointments in the hopes that Romney will be elected.

              Scalia: 76 -- He'll probably stay another 8 to 10 years.

              Kennedy: 76 -- Probably the same -- we'll be stuck with him another 8 to 10 years.

              Thomas: 64. Probably another TWENTY years with this stiff.

              Steven Breyer: 74, Clinton's other appointee. He's probably good for another 8 to 10 years as well.

              You'll notice that not ONE of the Republican Justices is at all likely to go in the next 4 years. Kennedy is the oldest but he's in perfectly good health and has shone not the slightest inclination to leave the bench. He probably won't leave until he drops just like the rest of them.

              •  I Should Point Out. . . (0+ / 0-)

                That if she REALLY holds on and refuses to leave the court except in a winding sheet, she MIGHT just last until January 2017, in which case the Senate might very well revert to Democratic control, since the 2010 class of Republican Senators from blue states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois will be up for re-election.

                2010 the Republicans won 7 seats so it will be the reverse of 2012 and 2014 when Democrats are defending virtually all the vulnerable seats.

                Dems would have lost 2 more seats THIS year in MO & IN except for the imbecilic Tea-bagger candidates they insist on nominating who keep talking about rape.

                They will almost certainly learn in future to shut their mouths about rape being God's plan for all those slutty women whose rape wasn't "legitimate" because they wore short skirts (even though they all believe it), and their extremism will pass without notice.

      •  I think you are way too judgmental (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elmo, cany, BluejayRN, One Opinion

        re Justice Ginsberg's career decision.  

    •  NO guarantee on Supreme Court from Obama. (0+ / 0-)

      Obama overlooked the DEM candidates for State Atty's General positions in TX & UT. The Tea party got those jobs.

      •  Well, look at the two appointments he's made. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DeadHead

        I think we can count on a constitutional scholar (he taught the subject at the University of Chicago law school) and a Political Being to replace a liberal justice with a liberal justice. (You could argue the case might be slightly iffier - say, with a moderate constitutional scholar - if he were replacing Scalia or Thomas, for example ... but I'd doubt he'd fill even that kind of opening with a conservative.

        All presidents are legacy-conscious in their second term. Obama will be no exception.

        As for state attorneys general, those jobs are state appointments or, in most if not all cases, elected, and a President doesn't deal with them? It's not surprising the Tea Party got the nod in those states. If you mean US district attorneys, such posts typically are filled by the US senators from that state.

        Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

        by TRPChicago on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 12:57:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They're Centrist Corporatists, Not Liberals! (0+ / 0-)

          Justice Douglas, Justice Brennan, THOSE were liberals.

          Jeffrey Toobin, a Supreme Court analyst and Kagan's friend and law school classmate,[56] speculated that Kagan would likely be President Obama's nominee, describing her as "very much an Obama type person, a moderate Democrat, a consensus builder."
          She stands out as an island of sanity by comparison, simply because Republicans keep appointing the most insane Reich-Wingers they can like Roberts and Alito who have signaled that they want to return to the Lochner Eraof the 1920s
          According to progressive scholars, American judges steeped in laissez-faire economic theory, who identified with the nation’s capitalist class and harbored contempt for any effort to redistribute wealth or otherwise meddle with the private marketplace, acted on their own economic and political biases to strike down legislation that threatened to burden corporations or disturb the existing economic hierarchy. In order to mask this fit of legally unjustified, intellectually dishonest judicial activism, the progressive interpretation runs, judges invented novel economic “rights” — most notably “substantive due process” and “liberty of contract” — that they engrafted upon the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  •  Yes, Armando. It's the Supreme Court, Stupid! (15+ / 0-)

    It's the Supreme Court, Stupid: Election Edition (10/31)

    Once again, it's the Supreme Court, Stupid! (6/28)

    November 2012 - Yes, it's really the Supreme Court (5/03)

    and I'm running out the door, so I'm not posting the high-volume one.

    Agreed 100%!

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent, and we are all Wisconsin.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:37:14 AM PST

  •  The Court is how Presidencies (25+ / 0-)

    project themselves long after the President has left office.  FDR had two appointees who were still on the Court during the Nixon Administration (Black and Douglas).  Eisenhower appointed Brennan (along with Warren, to the everlasting distress of conservatives).  Reagan's shadow still lingers on the Court.  Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter's legacy is further diminished by his never having had the opportunity to name a member of the Court (the only President of the 20th Century not to have done so).

    Who do we want naming the replacements (potentially) for Ginsberg, Scalia and Kennedy?   Without a doubt, I think the answer is Barack Obama.  It is why we NEED to win this election.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:37:33 AM PST

  •  All those court cases, most of which have been (5+ / 0-)

    protecting voter rights - know what will happen if Romney were to win?  It's not good.  Expanded access to voting is just another right that would take a step backwards under a GOP government.

    “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

    by ahumbleopinion on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:39:21 AM PST

  •  It's the unspoken key to real change (6+ / 0-)

    In either political direction. The right have long understood this, in fact they have created this situation by politicizing the judiciary at every level.

    I fear that at the top level the likes of Scalia and Kennedy will hold out for as long as they have to until a Republican gets back in the White House, and for that reason we need to win this election and probably the one or two after this one.

    The lower courts are of course also vitally important and often overlooked, the longer we have the presidency the more chance and hope there is of restoring some sanity to the judicial system.

    hope springs eternal

    by ahyums on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:41:26 AM PST

  •  Thomas (6+ / 0-)

    He is just awful - a seemingly vacuous automatic vote for any extreme right position. It is important to keep a Democratic President in office to wait him and Scalia out. Alito, perhaps the vilest of all, will take longer.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:41:51 AM PST

    •  True but getting Scalia and Thomas out would be (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wasatch, SoCalJayhawk, dpc, mconvente

      a very, very good thing.  I do not wish ill health on anyone, not even them, however.
      But I do hope we have a Democratic President not just for the next 4 years but for the next  8 or so and those two would be of the age where they might just decide they have to retire and cannot wait..hard to tell.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:32:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Goes back to 2000, when many of us (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, wishingwell, Darmok, bear83

    used the argument, "It's the Supreme Court, stupid." As an oldie, this was also a dread with the Reagan election. I wish there had been a tie in of the Supreme Court and women's rights by POTUS in his speeches.

    I think, therefore I am. I think.

    by mcmom on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:43:26 AM PST

  •  Ginsburg pretty clearly will retire within (6+ / 0-)

    the next term.  I'd like it if Breyer did too, just to be safe (three terms in a row are hard to pull off), but he's young enough in Supreme Court terms that he could try to Stevens it out.

    Apart from them, well, obviously Scalia will never voluntarily retire under a Democratic president.  76-year-olds obviously don't always get to choose in those circumstances, though -- but more likely, President 2016 will get that one.

    Kennedy, likewise, is young enough to stick around, and he gets to be the deciding vote in almost all tough cases, so I imagine that's a pretty sweet deal he's not interested in walking away from soon.  But with Kennedy, he's in the position where, barring a judge veering off course from the appointing president's intention, he's likely to disagree with his replacement on many important issues so matter which party makes the appointment.

  •  IMHO Dems have a fear of be labeled as (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    "progressive," "liberal" requiring a "litmus test" and in fact being called "ideological" in any sense. Still a leftover from the Bill Clinton days and the "America is a Center-Right" country. So the avoidance of talking about what would be criteria for a the SCOTUS is understandable. Meanwhile, the Republic Party continues to move further and further into a demand of ideological purity, and though this election will go poorly for them, they have managed to ratchet the debate in the MSM way to the right.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:45:11 AM PST

  •  Absolutely. (15+ / 0-)

    Scalia and Kennedy are both 76.  Scalia will probably live to be 156 out of sheer spite.  But anything can happen.  So it isn't just about protecting the turf we have, but being ready for any circumstance.  To this day, I think the replacement of Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas was among the most disgusting acts in American history.  I would love to be able to return the favor.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Ms Johnson on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:45:11 AM PST

  •  Add GOTV ACTION links please (5+ / 0-)

    Phonebanking from home...and more:

    http://www.barackobama.com

    Election Protection Hotline: 1-866-OUR-VOTE

    Also:

    Call out the Vote:
    http://calloutthevote.com/

    GOTV. Progressives. Phonebanking from home.
    http://bit.ly/...

    Workersvoice. Call Ohio:
    http://go.workersvoice.org/...

  •  No more RATS on the Supreme Court. GObama! (7+ / 0-)

    Roberts
    Alito
    Thomas
    Scalia

    There are many adoptable cats and dogs being rescued around the country. You can save a life by adopting one.

    by 4Freedom on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:49:00 AM PST

  •  It's a short jump across a small stream (5+ / 0-)

    to imagine the type of heinous justices which would be forced upon us by a Romney administration.

    Be afraid.

  •  For anyone doubting this (5+ / 0-)

    I suggest reading some of the old Supreme Court decisions that were overruled following the ideological switch of Owen Roberts and the retirement of Willis Van Devanter in 1937.  For starters, Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) and Adkins v. D.C. Childrens Hospital (1923).  Essentially, the Constitutional doctrine was that the commerce clause limited Congress to regulating goods "in the stream of commerce" and nothing else.  Clarence Thomas has been vocal (to the extent he is vocal) about his desire to return to what FDR had called "a horse and buggy interpretation of the Constitution," most recently in his separate dissent in the Affordable Care Act decision.  This view would void 90% of federal laws and regulation and render the federal government impotent.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:51:23 AM PST

  •  Techno-dark ages (4+ / 0-)

    With 82 years to go in this century, a progressive court is one of the best preventions against this country dipping into the techno-dark ages.  What I mean by this term is the use of science only to further technology and any other science disputed in the political sphere keeping alive the superstition and dogma that keeps us from continuing to understand the world and our place in it; God's Will V. Human Effect on the  planet is one example.

    I'm just here for the Mojo!

    by Gator on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:52:07 AM PST

  •  What about the clerkships? (5+ / 0-)

    (a) Liberals appoint 50% liberal, 50% conservative clerks;

    (b) Conservatives choose 100% conservative clerks;

    (c) Having been a SCOTUS clerk has become a de facto prerequisite to selection to a court seat (even more than fealty to the Pope, which I don't exactly understand).

    The reverberations of this election could continue for 80 or 100 years, not just 30.

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:54:49 AM PST

  •  The GOP owns Obama on Court Picks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM

    Of course Obama would rather not talk about the Federal Courts. He has done little to advance his appointments at the District & Appellate level. The GOP has fucked him at every turn and you have heard crickets from the WH.

    On the matter of Judicial maintenance, Obama has failed miserably.
    ...and don't tell me about the filibuster...

    If a president can't even get his appointments approved he is laying down on that job..

    "I'm not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was." Mittens

    by olo on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:54:57 AM PST

    •  I meant to talk to you about YOUR job, olo ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell, elmo

      Your productivity is way down recently and we were wondering if you were having problems at home, or something?

      Seriously, second terms are different from first terms. Relax.

      Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

      by Clem Yeobright on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:57:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Dunno...Biggest Question For Obama II (3+ / 0-)

        Is whether he's able to get his appointments confirmed and his agenda passed without being destroyed by the people who'd rather be right than help America.

        Mitch McConnell Jan. 21, 2013: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to fail in his second term agenda."

        Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

        by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:06:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's the Most Important Thing of All (9+ / 0-)

    Nothing is more important than SCOTUS. And I've had this same sig line since I joined here in 2003, UID 893. Nothing is more important.

    "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

    by Kestrel on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:04:02 AM PST

  •  Control of the Senate is also crucial. (10+ / 0-)

    We need a majority on the Judiciary Committee just to get an acceptable nominee to the floor.   Even given control of the Committee, while I would suspect the GOP is less likely to filibuster Ginsberg's replacement, since it marks no ideological shift for the Court, I would not put it past the GOP Senate to filibuster virtually any replacement for a winger justice selected by Obama.  Even to  the point where the Court is actually deprived of a Justice for some length of time.  They are now operating on that level of reptilian thinking, because their base demands it.  But there seems to be good reason to doubt that any remotely acceptable nominee would get out of Committee should they achieve Senate control.

    So not only is the 2012 election critical, but the 2014, as the Senate will once again hang in the balance.  The right wing justices have given us no reason to believe they won't try to wait out the process to achieve a political result pleasing to them.  Counting on any single justice's retirement (with the exception of Ginsberg) is anything but a safe bet, but I think it's very unlikely you'll get a winger to announce prior to 2014.    

    •  They can do stuff like that for the lower courts (3+ / 0-)

      because the public doesn't pay attention, but with Supreme Court vacancies there's nonstop coverage until it's filled.  Blocking a clearly qualified nominee would be a PR imbroglio in the long-term -- I'm sure plenty of them would be game for that anyway, but not enough.

      •  I think they would perceive the stakes (0+ / 0-)

        as high enough to risk alienating whatever  public opinion is out there.  As important as it is, the Supreme Court doesn't rank as highly of a concern with the American public as many of us would expect. Sustaining a filibuster is a collective effort so individual Senators have less "exposure."  Plus they'd argue they'd be acting in their constituent's interests.

        I think they'd do it in a heartbeat.

        •  Too many senators outside ultraconservative (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dartagnan

          states would be exposing themselves to serious blowback in that instance.  Americans don't follow the court closely, but blocking a nominee for transparently political reasons (and on political issues that a strong majority of Americans actually support the Dems on) would be terrible optics in too many states.  Collins and Kirk, especially, would be putting themselves seriously in harm's way.

          •  Collins and Kirk and several others (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mconvente

            could afford to sit out the filibuster.  I see your point but after the debt ceiling debacle I don't put nothing past these people. Remember a new Court means CU likely gets overturned. The Republican Party's allegiance is no longer to the American people, the Constitution, or public opinion, but to the unrelenting spigot of untraceable corporate cash that keeps them in power.  New Court comes along and revisits campaign finance law-- they go down.  They can't allow that to happen, public opinion be damned.

  •  I'm Not Usually Afraid (5+ / 0-)

    But the thought of Romney making two or three appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, sends shivers of terror down my spine. Americans would be screwed for the next 50 years.

    It won't happen. President Obama's firewall is holding and I think and I believe, he will win reelection Tuesday.

  •  That horse is already out of the barn (5+ / 0-)

    I certainly believe that we should all vote for Obama, however much a disappointment he, and the Ds in general, might be.  But the idea that a clincher reason to do this is control of SCOTUS is an outdated notion.

    The Conservative Movement already has it's five-man junta controling SCOTUS decisions.  There really is no longer any reason to believe that Kennedy is some sort of weak sister who needs replacing to make their control complete.  Nor is there any reason to imagine that, no matter how ill or mentally incompetent Kennedy might become in the next four years, that there is any realistic prospect that the Movement will not keep him on the bench and continue to cast his votes for him.  Any such disability on his part simply leaves his vote entirely under the control of whoever appoints his clerks, presumably the Chief Justice.

    We need two things in order to deal with the Federalist Society junta that controls SCOTUS.  For one thing, we need the trifecta.  We need the House, not just the WH and Senate.  The second, much more uncharacteristic and unlikely thing our side needs, is the will to use that trifecta to contain SCOTUS by taking away its jurisdiction wherever it overreaches.  They've already overreached on campaign finance, so our side needs to be perfectly willing to overturn CU by the only practical means, jurisdiction limitation, and forget about the much harder amendment slog.  I strongly suspect that we will soon also find it necessary to remove their jurisdiction over elections in general.  

    If you're not willing to consider jurisdiction limitation, just please don't even mention the threat of the other side controlling SCOTUS.  You're willfully denying the fact that they already control SCOTUS, and that the problem now is reversal of that control, that it's too late for prevention.

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:16:07 AM PST

    •  Absolutely correct. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lily O Lady, mconvente

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:38:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your signature is well, different, what does it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gtomkins, mconvente

      mean?  

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:44:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That the presidency was the second biggest... (0+ / 0-)

        ... mistake in the Constitution.  We need to get rid of it before it gets rid of us.  But as long as a D holds the office, we don't have the luxury of doing what is in the long-term best interests of the country.

        We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

        by gtomkins on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:38:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would be a very tough task as that is in (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gtomkins

          the Constitution and this is all very new to me in that I never heard or read much about people who want to get rid of the office of the President.  

          Do you think things would improve if there was no president? Would you propose something more like a Prime Minister or no head of state.  As would we not need a head of state or someone to carry out state functions..would be just someone in the cabinet like Secretary of State?

          Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

          by wishingwell on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 02:31:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, we would have to amend the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

            Pretty much just rip out Article II.  But it would take surprisingly little beyond that, as the president doesn't actually do anything that couldn't be better done by Congress, through whatever sort of executive functionaries might actually be needed to execute the laws it passes.  Those arrangements are details that Congress can settle by statute, we don't need anything about executive functionaries cluttering up the basic law of the land.

            We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

            by gtomkins on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 07:16:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  how do you remove their jurisidction and how do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gtomkins

      go about jurisidiction limitation, would that ever be done in all reality ? Is it possible even with a Dem House and Senate?

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:46:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's in the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

        In Art III, sec 2, Congress gets to "make exceptions" in SCOTUS's appellate jurisdiction, and put that jurisdiction "under ... Regulations".

        Since the Constitution and federal statues make Congress the final judge of election results, cutting out the federal courts from election issues in general, much less just campaign financing, would not involve any practical difficulties.  The courts could be left in the process for appeal of due process issues arising from any prosecutions under election law, without being allowed to decide on the constitutionality of these election laws.

        That said, it is my understanding that Congress has never actually exercised this power it is given in the Constitution.  Practically speaking, popular respect for SCOTUS is such that even if we had the trifecta, our weak sisters would be reluctant to confront SCOTUS on its overreach, no matter how clear the overreach.  Not even the consideration that, in giving the Congress the power to police the Court, the Constitution had thereby also given it the responsibility to police the Court and keep it from overreach, would likely overcome the reluctance to take on this revered institution.

        We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

        by gtomkins on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:12:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If removing jurisdiction from the courts is a bad (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gtomkins

      thing when it concerns abortion rights and the wingnuts propose it, how does it become a good thing when it concerns free speech and the left proposes it?

      •  That's The Point (0+ / 0-)

        Tea Baggers didn't (yet) go after Roe v Wade. They attack all abortion rights in the states and whatever percolates up to the SCOTUS gets a piecemeal dissection of that decision. Bit by bit the teeth are removed from the law and eventually, viola! no Roe v Wade.

        Progs can do exactly the same thing to Citzens United. Pick that miserable, fucking decision apart until it gives us back some of our public control over elections.

        Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

        by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:19:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  We defend or condemn depending on rightness (0+ / 0-)

        If SCOTUS decided Roe v Wade correctly, then we vote against removing SCOTUS jurisdiction over abortion rights because Roe v Wade was decided correctly, and, secondarily, because that decision actually involved real, personal rights, quite aside from making the correct determination about such rights.

        We believe that CU was decided incorrectly, wantonly even, by a SCOTUS majority bent on pursuing partisan advantage, so of course we should vote to take the right to make decisions in such cases from SCOTUS.  By giving Congress the power to take from SCOTUS jurisdiction where SCOTUS overreaches, it also gave Congress the responsiblity to police SCOTUS.  So when our side, if it holds a majority in both chambers, refuses to police SCOTUS in this matter, that its the same as our side saying that SCOTUS decided the matter correctly.  Of course, part of believing that CU was wrongly decided, is the belief that there actually are no personal rights at stake, that the notion that corporations have free speech rights was simply an invention of wanton partisans seeking to rationalize their betrayal of their oaths to render impartial decisions.

        Just because you can point to scoundrels and criminals who profess a belief in Christianity hardly disproves Christianity, any more than the example of a scoundrel atheist disproves atheism.  Yes, rightwing scumbags have called for removing SCOTUS jurisdiction over abortion.  So, refute their scumbaggery, don't hide behind some invented procedural objection that SCOTUS can never be limited, despite the Constitutional mandate on Congress to do just that, limit SCOTUS when it overreaches.

        You haven't even chosen a morally difficult case, a case where our side might lose in Congress, but that some SCOTUS decision got right.  Our side should like nothing better than an up or down vote in Congress on choice.  We would win that one.  

        I admit that there are harder issues, where we might not win in Congress, but that former courts got right.  Even here, though, I see no real dilemma.  Former courts are not this SCOTUS we have now.  Expect nothing from this SCOTUS that isn't far worse than what their side could get through Congress.

        We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

        by gtomkins on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:36:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Slippery slope (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gtomkins

          Once you establish the precedent from removing certain cases from judicial review, it makes it easier for other types of cases to be removed from judicial review.

          If we do this on Citizens United, you can guarantee Republicans will do it on Roe v. Wade.

          •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

            Look, forget about the old idea that SCOTUS was left of Congress, and that if we only shored up the idea that SCOTUS could and should decide things behind closed doors, insulated from democratic pressures, then SCOTUS would do all sorts of heavy lifting for our side, it would decide things rightly without our side's Congresscritters having to take any publc relations hits for those decisions.  The shoe is now on the other foot.  Encouraging a blind respect for any fool and unjust decision the five-man junta that controls SCOTUS might make, is now clearly bad for justice, and for our side.

            I think that the particular issue you choose, abortion rights, is an excellent case tending to support the stronger case that it was never a good idea to rely on SCOTUS to do our heavy lifting for us, even when we had a better SCOTUS.  The overwhelming majority of this country is pro-choice, most people really do not want the govt making abortion decisions.  Ask people like Dan Quayle about abortion in terms of who should be making the decision, the govt or his daughter, and even this supposed lifer comes down for choice.  By not making our legislators have this issue out in public with each other, we left it theoretical.  Leave it theoretical, and the easy majority pro-choice position on what should be the law of the land, gets swamped by the anti-abortion, pro-life sentiment of what choice individuals should make.  We almost all (devout Objectivists aside) think that, to choose an analogous situation, if someone else needs a blood transfusion to survive, that we ought to choose to donate a unit of blood to help them survive, but that, absolutely, the law should not require anyone to be forced to donate blood.  But public discourse never frames the issue in those simple terms of govt coercion, where it should and should not be applied, because we've let this issue remain fogged, we've let the other side freely confuse the ethics and sentimental setting of the situation with the question of what sort of decision we should let the govt coerce individuals into.

            Even if our side would lose an up or down abortion rights vote in Congress right now, which I doubt (for one thing, the lifers would insist on no exceptions), forcing publicly accountable responsibility for that decision would allow us to win the next election, and then establish abortion rights on the only secure foundation they can have in a democracy, that of a commonly accepted understanding.  The majority has to be convinced in the rightness of our position.  Letting what we believe to be right rest on deference to the pseudo-technical opinions of a judicial elite is not nearly so secure a way to get the right to prevail, as the present makeup of the SCOTUS majority should have convinced you.  They're the wrong elite, and they have no qualms using pseudo-technicality to mask naked partisanship.

            I am not so confident of the outcome in every state lege, and to allow variance among the states on this issue would be disastrous, because we would soon find that this nation cannot stand half choice and half anti-choice.  Our side needs to pass a federal statute nationalizing abortion rights, because your SCOTUS that you want all of us to kneel to without question, is probably going to return this issue to the states soon, unless we take it from the courts and legislate about it in Congress.

            We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

            by gtomkins on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 01:27:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  My diary on why voting Democratic is important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson
  •  Your most effective diary, Armando, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    was a diary you made several months back making this same point and acknowleding what a poor choice we had.  It is why I'm voting for Obama instead of staying out of it completely this cycle, because I've been so disillusioned with this president that it's taken an enormous effort to not make a nuisance of myself here during the closing days.

    So you achieved the impossible with that diary.  Kudos.

  •  They'll not hear it from me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, TerryDarc

    I have relatives of the evangelical persuasion. One of them, a couple of weeks ago, posted on Facebook that she was uninterested in this election and probably wouldn't vote. Almost every one of her like minded friends were similarly apathetic.

    Believe me, the last thing I would do is add to their discussion anything about the SCOTUS and the fact that Romney could easily tip the scales against pro-choice. They would most definitely lose their apathy and vote solely based on that one issue.

    I've always thought that the reason the candidates aren't bringing the issue up is that neither wants to wake up the other sides pro/anti choice soldiers. I've no idea, though, why MSM has chosen this time to not bring it up. Perhaps it is because  their corporate owners have more to fear from waking up sleepy headed progressives?

    ______________
    I'm riding El Tour for the cure. You can help.

    by Icarus Diving on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:30:30 AM PST

    •  And Do These Evangelicals Live In Swing States? (0+ / 0-)

      If not, let 'em get exercised about pro-choice. They're idiots and beyond hope of intelligent choice.

      Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

      by TerryDarc on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:21:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Stoller, Greenwald, et al (0+ / 0-)

    The frustrating thing about the arguments from the left for voting for a 3rd party candidate is that they only make the arguments against Obama.  They never net out the issues that would go hard against America if Republicans win, such as the Supreme Court.

    Stoller seems to be pining for a crisis moment where clear eyed true progressive leaders, who presumably voted for 3rd party candidates this time around, will ride to the rescue.  But new justices appointed by a Republican president who preside over 30 years of ultra-conservative legal orthodoxy would seem to crush Stoller's new progressive era in the cradle, even if you do buy his theory about a beautiful crisis moment.

    Mike Lofgren of the Atlantic has posted a thorough criticism of the Left's argument against Obama.  It's funny how that relative to the argument of "the worse the better" (or what I call let the house burn down), Lofgren states:

    I have not yet seen this argument in print
    This is shocking to me because if he has read Stoller's controversial piece, I don't know how he reads Stoller's argument as anything but "the worse the better."

    And finally, I want to say that I appreciate Stoller, Greenwald, many of the Firedoglake authors, etc.  They're voicing valid criticisms of the Obama administration.  I just think they have some blind spots when it comes to making decisions based on those criticisms.

  •  Fine. Now will you tell the Presidend (0+ / 0-)

    once he's reelected: Please stop appointing justices who are MORE conservative than the (Republican-appointed!) ones they replaced?

    Pretty please?

  •  Robert Bork is Romney's chief (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, Lily O Lady, Eric Nelson

    Constitutional and Judiciary advisor.  'nuf said.

    http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/...

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:49:22 AM PST

  •  Depression Era Judges (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, bear83

    There are four supreme court justices serving who were born in the 1930s. It would be fantastic if Obama could leave a mark of 6 seats on the court, including replacing two conservative justices.

    And it would be a tragedy if Romney gets the same chance.

    Those who ignore the future are condemned to repeat it.

    by enigmamf on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 10:51:57 AM PST

  •  Romney endorses another forced pregnancy candidate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Bizarre endorsement today from Romney in ND.  The only senate candidates he has endorsed are the ones who support forced pregnancy for rape victims.  

  •  the Republicans can't do diddley with the Court (0+ / 0-)

    unless the spineless surrender-monkey Democrats in the Senate let them.

    Like they did the last few times.

  •  I appreciate this post (0+ / 0-)
  •  And Consider if Romney Has 8 Years (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TerryDarc, DigDug

    Ginsburg and Breyer want to go out with a Dem. Kennedy wants a Rep President but he might not care that much if he's tired.

    Ginsburg is 79 and has health problems (she has survived pancreatic cancer). Breyer is 74.

    The average age that a Supreme Court Justice leaves office, either retiring voluntarily, having to retire due to health problems, or passing away in office is 78.7.

    If Romney were to be elected, Ginsburg would have to hang on to 83 and to 87 for a second term and Breyer to 79 and 83 respectively. They just may not be able to do if they have health problems.

    Kennedy, the fifth vote willing to uphold Roe v. Wade and the swing vote on other issues is 76. He would likely resign in Romney's first term.

    Romney nominating one, two or perhaps three staunch conservative Justices in their early 50s, the country would be have the most conservative Supreme Court since the mid 1930's for the foreseeable future -- at least for the next 30 years.

    "I can't believe that the noblest instict of man - his compassion for another - can be completley dead here". Col. Dax - Paths of Glory.

    by renewables on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:04:39 AM PST

  •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

    Though this is an important aspect of the power of the presidency, we can't forget the importance of acting responsibly with the power as Commander and Chief.

    Is Citizens United more important than killing 10's of thousands, injuring 100's of thousands, displaying millions, while costing trillions in an unjust and unnecessary conflict in Iraq?  

    Now, of course if we want we can go back in time, and, in a circular sense (the president appoints the justices, who, in turn appoint the president, who, in turn . . . ) that it was the five justices from Bush's daddy and his daddy's boss who paved the way for his presidency, therefore his power to attack an innocent sovereign nation, then OK, in this  sense, it is the greatest power.  

    Though Roberts and Alito will haunt us for a very long time and may do more harm over their careers, I still think Bush's greatest travesty is attacking Iraq, which also may haunt us for a long time.

  •  The Supreme Court made mischief in 2000. We (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    need a court which will protect the weak and powerless rather than do the will of the powerful.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:42:58 AM PST

  •  Fascinating: (0+ / 0-)

    On the one hand, the Dems and Obama get a pass on all fronts because...

    Someone would threaten to filibuster something!

    On the other hand... it's imperative that we have Obama so he can...

    Appoint Supreme Ct Justices that are bastions of Progressives & Liberals.

    Whence the mighty filibuster?

    And never mind the fact that it would only take 51 Dems in the Senate to actually remove the filibuster as a rule in the first place.

    Welcome to the Kabuki Theater of the Absurd.

    Miss Garnett, I love you. God speed and thank you for blessing me with your companionship for almost 17 years.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 11:49:28 AM PST

  •  Tampa Bay Times op-ed on Supreme Court (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DigDug, Eric Nelson

    importance in election:

    http://www.tampabay.com/...

    "A Romney Court would set back the clock"

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 12:24:48 PM PST

  •  Sotomayor is the better pick (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Kagan voted with Roberts to find the medicaid portions of the ACA unconstitutional.

  •  More post(?) Lochner concerns to add to all the.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One Opinion

    ..very important civil & political rights you've covered in this post:
    New York Times - Imagining a Liberal Court - By NOAH FELDMAN Published: June 24, 2010
     • Free Speech. Who's? :

    The recent Supreme Court case that most vividly captures this division between liberals and conservatives has to do with the constitutional rights of corporations — and with their role in influencing the government. The case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was the subject of President Obama’s in-person criticism of the Supreme Court during his State of the Union speech in January
    Financial regulation:
    ..business regulation is also becoming increasingly salient. This term, for example, the Supreme Court took up the constitutionality of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to review accounting practices. Similar challenges will certainly be brought to the new financial regulations proposed by the Obama administration
    States rights: - electoral college question.
                            - the electoral process itself - will there be more or less control by the Fed over states given this years trouble with voter suppression, purging, etc. is just one of the many states rights agenda questions that the right side of the current Supreme court has made no secret of where they stand.
  •  The Supreme Court is my main appeal to people who (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    say they might not vote at all. If I haven't persuaded them of the need to elect as many Democrats as possible and the importance of the ballot measures in California, I remind them that the next Presidential term is likely to see another Supreme Court appointment, and maybe two of them. And then I remind them that Supreme Court appointments are for life. It's surprisingly effective ;^)

    I'm a Democrat - I believe that government has a positive role to play in the lives of ordinary people.

    by 1BQ on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 02:05:50 PM PST

  •  IT's the Supreme Court, Stupid! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    Absolutely! And Robert "anti-privacy" Bork is a legal adviser for Mittens. If you think for one second that Romney won't listen to Bork and appoint some young Federalist Society hot head to rip apart the weak thread that holds Roe v. Wade, I've got a bridge for you in Kings County, NY, dirt cheap. And yes, if Romney prevails, the anti-commerce pre-New Deal view of SCOTUS will be reinstated ASAP. Should Obama prevail, Citizens United will be overturned. Pay no attention to  Norm Coleman falsely telling a Jewish group that Romney's talk of overturning Roe v. Wade means nothing. It means everything. Again, it's SCOTUS, stupid! For more on SCOTUS, women's issues, and related matters, read  this

    •  For the record on Romney’s latest surrogate.. (0+ / 0-)

      .. Norm Coleman, who insists that Roe v Wade "won't be reversed" with a Romney/Ryan ticket .. trust them.
      Well, we've already heard what Romney has to say about his preference of supreme court appointments
      Norm Coleman social policy
      Wikipedia

      As an abortion opponent and a frequent adversary of public employee unions, Coleman's positions put him at odds with the DFL Party leadership in Minnesota.
      Coleman has campaigned as a pro-life candidate since at least 1993 and was part of this republican invasive madness:
      Coleman voted in favor of legislative intervention to prolong the life of severely brain-damaged Floridian Terri Schiavo
      And as for people's rights:
      Coleman opposes recognition of same-sex marriages by either the federal or state governments
      Norm Coleman @ Republican Jewish coalition town hall Beachwood, Ohio October 29, 2012
      Coleman’s reasoning spin:
      The GOP (George bush as his example) has failed for decades  to reverse Roe v Wade and otherwise out-law a women’s reproductive rights and choices on many issues.
      That’s it. That is Colemans reassurance that Roe v Wade will not be overturned by a Romney/Ryan ticket- who buys that BS?

      It's not for lack of trying. So who should trust this guy and why - No one with any common sense imo
      http://www.youtube.com/...

  •  I totally agree with this post. Reelecting (0+ / 0-)

    President Obama is especially important given the precarious balance of the current SCOTUS.  If the Court is allowed to get any more conservative, as is very likely if Romney is elected, it will jeopardize the future of many civil rights that were established decades or even more than a hundred years ago.  Roe v. Wade is under active attack, as are voting rights and many forms of privacy that have been protected through my lifetime.

    Also, the Roberts Court has taken a distinctly pro-business viewpoint which makes it more difficult for individuals to pursue legal remedies against already too powerful corporations.  This is one more step on the road from democracy to corporate oligarchy.

    That is why President Obama MUST be REELECTED!

  •  No one's talking about the court because (0+ / 0-)

    all the controversial stuff is happening in the states right now, like the rape and abortion nonsense.

  •  The Federal Courts of Appeals have 15 vacancies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    out of 179 seats. Overall, 84 of those judges were appointed by Republicans and 80 by Democrats.

    Obama appointed 30 of these judges in his first term. With a second term and a fix to the Senate filibuster, Obama could appoint another 40+ Court of Appeals judges in his second term. This would build up the largest margin of Democratic appointees since the early 80's.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Including both Appeals and District courts, there are 82 current vacancies and 19 future vacancies - 101 of the total 874 judges open right now for the next President to fill. There could easily be another 100+ vacancies over the next 4 years, giving the next president the chance to name a quarter or more of all federal judges.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/...

    Obama's judicial nominees have been the most gender- and ethnically- diverse in history:
    56% male - 44% female - no prior president even got to 30% female.

    63% white - 19% black - 12% Hispanic - 7% Asian - no prior president got below 75% white nominees. Obama has nominated more Asian-American judges in 4 years than the previous 5 presidents combined did in 32 years.

    http://www.afj.org/...

    With 101 current vacancies and 100 or more pending the next 4 years, it is critical that President Obama is making these nominations and that there's a Democratic Senate that has fixed the filibuster waiting to confirm those nominees.

    NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

    by bear83 on Sun Nov 04, 2012 at 09:20:00 PM PST

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