Going Nowhere Fast

Monday, April 17, 2006

Despite the media hype and partisan rhetoric, the confirmation battles of now-Chief Justice John Roberts and now-Justice Samuel Alito were just preseason games. The next confirmation fight could be the Super Bowl if the next justice to retire/die is one of the five moderate-to-liberal justices.

Conservative activists have to be frothing at the mouth now as their party may not have control of the Senate (the house that approves or rejects a president's nominee) seven months from now, and you can be sure at least one liberal justice will try his best to hang on until at least the midterm elections (emphasis added):

WASHINGTON - As Justice John Paul Stevens turns 86 this week, he is the latest jurist to watch in what has become, during President Bush's second term, a vulturine pastime for ideological activists: predicting the next vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Stevens, a Republican who votes with the liberal bloc of the court and who declined an interview for this story, has announced no plans for retirement. In the mid-1970s, he had heart bypass surgery and a polyp removed from his colon, and in the early 1990s, he was treated for prostate cancer. But these days, acquaintances say the Shakespeare buff who has piloted his own planes and plays tennis is healthy, even spry. They say he dabbled with the idea of retirement years ago and instead compromised -- with a condo in Florida where he can read briefs and spend time with his wife, who has had health problems, when he is not needed in court.
Having spent time in South Florida I can't say I'm surprised there are 86-year-olds out there playing tennis and flying planes, but if the good justice is going to stay on this earth for awhile longer I'd sure like him a whole lot more if he'd just retire so that less opinions by Ruth Bader Ginsburg (and John Paul Stevens) will be majority ones.