Topic category: Other/General
Watch for More Court Vacancies
The confirmation process of John Roberts and of Sam Alito does much more than simply add two more conservative justices to the United States Supreme Court. The process of nominating and confirming both new justices makes it increasingly likely that Justice Kennedy and Justice Scalia may choose to retire now, rather than later.
Scalia and Kennedy both turn seventy this year. Scalia has been on the Supreme Court twenty years and Kennedy has been on the Supreme Court eighteen years. When they leave, as they must at some point, surely they will want to be replaced by jurists of brilliance, integrity and judicial temperament. The nomination by President Bush of two of the finest nominees ever to the Supreme Court, and their confirmation without a filibuster, makes this the perfect time to leave the Supreme Court.
Democrats cannot filibuster subsequent exceptionally qualified nominees based upon the spurious argument that this will “change the composition” of the Supreme Court. Republicans have the votes to invoke the nuclear option, and Democrat senators from Red states, like Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor, will face much grief of they again vote against exceptionally qualified nominees.
This is particularly true if President Bush nominated a woman, like Priscilla Owen, a black woman, like Janice Rogers Brown, both of whom were just confirmed to federal circuit courts of appeal or if President Bush nominated Miguel Estrada, the first Hispanic nominated to the Supreme Court, right before a mid-term election.
Why might Kennedy and Scalia retire now, aside from the fact that they know that they would be replaced by men or women who would go down in American jurisprudential history as magnificent justices? Justice Kennedy, now the putative “swing” vote, has traditionally been a conservative vote on the Supreme Court. He only became a “swing” vote when it became apparent that a conservative would replace Sandra Day O’Connor.
Justice Kennedy is human, like the rest of us. The absolutely despicable behavior of Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with the total victory of reasoned and thoughtful legal minds over savage political street fighting, affects humans, particularly those who have dedicated their lives to the law.
No one seriously interest in jurisprudence could view the Senate Judiciary hearings or the crass attempt at a filibuster as anything but villainous, as demonstrated by the appearance of other judges who serve with then Judge Alito to testify as to his decency, fairness and competence. The human reaction would be to warn those interrogators who caused the wife of their current associate justice to leave the committee room weeping to learn not to profit by behavior that would have been intolerable if presented to them as judges. If Justice Kennedy and Justice Scalia retired now, it would send that powerful message: treat nominees with respect and decency or expect us not to trust you will the power of putting judges on the federal bench.
Would Justice Kennedy be frightened by the specter of a conservative Supreme Court? No. He was, until recently, one of the four “conservative” members of that very court. But it is noteworthy that even Sandra Day O’Connor chose to leave the bench when President Bush would name her replacement.
Moreover, Kennedy and Scalia both have seen what happens when a Supreme Court justice leaves the bench by death or resignation: the Left immediately begins talking about what a wonderful jurist that the current incumbent on the Supreme Court has been and how important it is not to replace that good justice with some extremist (did anyone actually expect to hear Leftists, for example, applauding Chief Justice Rehnquist?)
Kennedy and Scalia also will not fear the rancor of the Left. Think back five years. Kennedy and Scalia – and Sandra Day O’Connor! – were part of the majority of five on the Supreme Court that led the Left into its four year whining “Selected, not elected” mantra. In short, Kennedy and Scalia have many reasons to leave now and almost no reasons to remain another four or five years.
What would that mean their replacement with Priscilla Owen or Janice Rogers Brown mean? It would mean five very solid, very young, very competent conservative justices against four old justices. The jihad on nominations begun by the Left will not be forgotten by the Right. When these four old justices leave the Supreme Court, if Republicans control the White House or the Senate, no Leftist will be allowed to replace them.
Merit matters, and John Roberts followed by Sam Alito prove that President Bush will honor the Supreme Court with meritorious nominees and get them confirmed. The judicial phase of the conservative revolution could be complete very soon, perhaps by July.
Biography - Bruce Walker
Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990. He is a regular contributor to WebCommentary, Conservative Truth, American Daily, Enter Stage Right, Intellectual Conservative, NewsByUs and MenÕs News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.