Okay, I'm going to throw a few things down before I contaminate myself by reading anything online. I've been away all weekend and only read a few papers. And with it being a holiday weekend, not much in the order of commentary, just news pieces and articles about O'Connor and the Court. So I haven't been exposed to much of the hype and rhetoric...yet.
1. "Shocking" Anyone who says this was a shocking resignation should be immediately dismissed as an idiot. At least as far as any further thoughts about the Court are concerned. O'Connor has been widely rumored to be leaving for at least a year. Those who paid attention to actual issues during the campaign knew this. That's exactly why every douchebag TV pundit and columnist is declaring this "a surprise." They spent the last two years making fun of Howard Dean's scream, John Kerry's windsurfing and pumping up Bush, while completely ignoring issues of substance like this. It is a mild upset that O'Connor is leaving before Rehnquist, but that is because of the media's morbid fascination with Rehnquist's cancer. It's beginning to look like the only way Rehnquist leaves the bench is feet-first.
And to those on the right sure to declare that Bush gets to name whoever the hell he wants because this was on the table for the election, and Bush won, shut the fuck up. You weren't watching the same news as anyone else in the country. This was a fringe issue [in coverage] at best. Just like Social Security. Bush campaigned on one thing -- War and Terror -- and that's it. And yes, I count those two things as one thing. Kerry? His campaign strategy was as one-dimensional as Bush's, which is even worse because he was the challenger.
2. Lucky to Have Her We will be lucky to ever see another Justice like O'Connor for a long time. Not because she was the greatest jurist to come down the pike, but because she was a reliable swing vote. A true moderate. Reading up on her over the weekend, I couldn't help but be fairly impressed with her as a person and a judge. I disagreed with plenty of her rulings, but only a week before retiring she penned a tremendous dissent on the Kelo case (probably the only time in my life I will be on the same side as Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas). Moderate, thoughtful judges who take each case one at a time and operate without a clear agenda or playbook will never be nominated by either party again. Conservatives look at her as a complete disappointment. Why? Because she wasn't a complete partisan? I have no faith in anything better from the Dems either. Everything in Washington wiill be "turnabout is fair play" for years to come, ensuring, a far left nomine from the next Dem President. If everyone nominated judges like O'Connor the whole country would be better off, and both parties will continue to fail to see that.
P.S. Hardly a Supreme Court scholar, I reserve the right to completely flip on this section if I find out O'Conner actually sucked. ;-)
3. Stripsey: Is is just me or does Rehnquist look like a complete jackass with those stripes sewn on his robe? Why not just go for the "C" over the left chest like a hockey player?... [link to the lamest superhero ever.]
4. Bush's Move What will President Bush do? This is one of those classic times when I really wonder how much of a dick the President is or how much of that is misconception foisted on him by his dick VP and lackeys. At times I really want to believe he is a fundamentally good guy trying to do good things. He'll want to nominate a minority of some sort, a moderate to replace a moderate... perhaps an Alberto Gonzales? Ugh, then I remember that only after the hard yanking to the right over the last five years is a guy like Gonzales even positioned anywhere near the mainstream. I remember that after failing to get only a handful of his maniac judges confirmed (going like 205-7 or so), does Bush come back with sensible, palatable alternatives, No, he renominates every one of them, and pitches a fit. He picks Bolton for the UN.
No, Bush (and/or his handlers) is a dick. Bush will not miss a chance to dig a finger into the eye of his opponents, even though that is fully one half of the country. He will go right to the list of right wing partisans he had tabbed to replace Rehnquist, and we're supposed to roll over for it 'cause George "has political capital and he intends to spend it."
This nomination will be the mother of all wedges, and they don't want it within their own Party, the pick will be waaay right. Just like with the lower-level judges, Bush and the Republican strategists are itching for this fight. Of course, I'd love to be surprised on this, but I'm not betting on it.
5. Fuck. This sucks. Rehnquist could be replaced without screwing up the balance of the court. People (partisans) on both sides have problems with this Court because it's not reliably on their side. It's unpredictable. It's evenly divided. That's good. This country is pretty evenly divided. When the Supreme court is a sure bet for either side, it's bad for the country. Now all the narrow holds we've had over the last twenty years will go the other way. And if Rehnquist goes down too, it will be a long haul for half of us.