The Coming Supreme Court Melee

Will the GOP filibuster Obama's next pick?

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With the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens likely coming before the end of Obama's first term, Republicans are already fixing for a fight. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, warned the President not to appoint any "overly ideological" candidates to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has caught wind of three potential replacements: U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appellate court judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland. Will Republicans filibuster any of these? Here's what pundits are saying:

  • Stay Strong, Obama, encourages Jeralyn at Talk Left: "Republicans are trying to influence the decision already, promising 'bruising battles' and saying Garland is his best bet. Why does Obama have to play it safe? He's already got his 'signature issue' -- the health care vote -- behind him. He really has an opportunity here to effect some change, one that could last decades. I hope he doesn't throw it away."
  • Expect a Fight, writes Glynis MacNicol at Mediaite: [Republican Senator Jon Kyl] expressed his hope that Obama doesn't nominate an 'overly ideological person' saying that as long as he doesn't do this Kyl doesn't envision Republicans engaging in a filibuster. So! Only hurdle now is getting both sides of the aisle to agree on what constitutes an 'overly ideological person.' Piece of cake."
  • It Only Makes Sense for GOP to Filibuster, writes No More Mister Nice Blog. Voters might even support Republican obstructionism: "The broad public has no idea now that there's an excessive number of filibusters now. The broad public will have no idea that it's an act of extremism if Republicans filibuster three, four, five Obama Supreme Court nominees in a row. I don't see anything in the polls right now that suggests the public will rally to Obama's defense if Republicans control the terms of debate and declare one nominee after another to be a dangerous lefty who's beyond the pale. I'll be shocked if there's no filibuster."
  • Most Controversial Is Wood, writes James Richardson at Red State: "Judge Wood's long and storied record on the issue of reproductive rights promises to serve as a lightening rod for Senate Republicans. Most noxious to social conservatives... is Wood's ruling that abortion lobbying group Planned Parenthood could use the "RICO" anti-mob law to sue pro-life protesters."
  • Conservatives Could Accept Garland, writes Ed Whelan at National Review: "Judge Garland has earned the respect of folks across the political spectrum for his judicial craftsmanship in his 13 years on the D.C. Circuit. Unlike Kagan, he may well be the best that conservatives could reasonably hope for from a Democratic president. While he's certainly no judicial conservative, he would seem to represent... the 'once-dominant species of liberal proponents of judicial restraint.'"
  • Why Do GOP Appointees Always Retire Under Democratic President? muses James Joyner at Outside the Beltway: "It has been common practice in recent years for Justices to do their best to time their departures according to which party controls the White House... What's interesting is how many recent retirements of Justices appointed by Republican presidents have come during Democratic administrations. The most recent retiree, David Souter, was nominated by George H.W. Bush in 1990 but chose to wait out George H.W. Bush and retire in the first months of the Obama presidency. Stevens was appointed by Gerald Ford. Lewis Powell, a Nixon appointee, retired during Bill Clinton's presidency. Ditto Harry Blackmun. It's been a long time since a Justice appointed by a Democrat voluntarily (i.e., for reasons other than rapidly declining health) during a Republican presidency."
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