February 08, 2010

Dems Divided Over Next SCOTUS Nominee

From the WSJ:
Democrats gearing up for a possible Supreme Court vacancy are divided over whether President Barack Obama should appoint a prominent liberal voice while their party still commands a large Senate majority, or go with someone less likely to stoke Republican opposition. ...

Without trailblazing liberals like the late Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall on the bench, "the court is getting this completely skewed internal debate about how to think about constitutional law," Prof. Stone said. That's bad for the court and bad for the nation."

Other allies of the president say picking a "Scalia of the left" would be a mistake. A candidate with a sharp liberal record "is such an attractive target for a fight, it could screw up the whole summer," tying up the Senate and further handicapping the Democrats' agenda, said a Democrat familiar with the White House's thinking on judicial nominees.

CFJ Executive Director Curt Levey offers his take:
"The president doesn't have the same popularity he did last summer, and that goes both in terms of the American people giving his nominee the benefit of the doubt, and the Republicans standing up to him," said Curt Levey, executive director of the Committee for Justice, which promotes conservative judges and opposed Justice Sotomayor as too liberal. ...

Another name often mentioned is Diane Wood, 59, an appellate judge at the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. Mr. Levey, citing a dissent Judge Wood wrote involving abortion rights, said she would likely spark a bigger confirmation fight than Ms. Kagan or Judge Garland.