It won’t be easy, and perhaps the administration will have to be pushed to promote a truly liberal candidate (as opposed to another down-the-middle choice), but a change of direction is truly possible for the first time in decades.
In the last year, the Obama administration has fought harder on important issues, but the GOP knows that changes to the court will have an impact for years. And they’re very good at running circles around Democrats on court nominees.
With so much at stake on issues like Social Security, and now the Supreme Court, Obama is going to need to be a much tougher negotiator than he was in the first term. Here’s hoping. As the article points out, Ginsburg is a possibility, but we like her. Kennedy is a swing vote, though Scalia would be a joy to replace.
The justice who is most likely to leave the court during the second Obama presidency is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal who at age 79 is birdlike and frail, but hardly slacking off from her prodigious work habits. More worrisome to conservatives is Justice Antonin Scalia, tied with Justice Clarence Thomas as the most conservative judge on the high court (and a self-described “best buddy” with Ginsburg) who at 76 has discussed retirement recently with various reporters.“Of course I’ll retire,” he told CNN’s Piers Morgan in July. “Certainly I’ll retire when I — when I think I’m — I’m not doing as good a job as I used to. That — that will make me feel very bad.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy is also 76. The court’s swing vote has infuriated and enthused conservatives in practically equal measure since Ronald Reagan nominated him in 1987 to replace his failed first choice, ultraconservative Robert Bork. Kennedy has sided with the conservatives in many important cases recently, including his surprising (to me, anyway), vote against Obamacare this summer.