Patterico's Pontifications


Souter to Retire

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:38 pm

Allahpundit calls it a “bombshell,” and I understand why he’s saying that: Supreme Court retirements are generally big news. However, this really won’t make much difference. One liberal will be replaced by another. Whomever Obama picks can’t be much worse.

47 Responses to “Souter to Retire”

  1. Souter is going to retire to his quaint, rustic cabin in rural New Hampshire, and spend the rest of his life communing with nature like Thoreau listening to show tunes.

    Official Internet Data Office (7a989a)

  2. Au contraire, remember Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall? Marshall, especially, made Souter look like Alito. He could do much, much worse.

    Not that it will ultimately make a difference, though. The basic balance of power remains the same, as it will if Stevens and Ginsburg retire.

    Sean P (e57269)

  3. He will probably write his memoirs. Possible titles:

    “On the Other Hand”
    “Weird Justice”
    “Thank You, John Sununu!”
    “Life with Mom”
    “A Moderate Republican”

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  4. Not much change, but younger. Probably much younger. Same for Stevens and Ginsberg.

    Considering that both Souter and Stevens were Republican appointees, the lost opportunities here are overwhelming.

    Just glad Steven Reinhardt is too old.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  5. They should do a reality show to find the replacement. Axelrod and Blagojevich could host it on a fake island covered in Astroturf.

    carlitos (23eb68)

  6. Whomever Obama picks can’t be much worse.

    Worse, probably not, but much harder to find.

    Are there any lawyers who believe the constitution to be illegal and at the same time are a lesbian African American woman who have had ten abortions while working for the Communist Party who got their voter registration from ACORN while protesting the war in Iraq at a community organizing event which exposed capitalism as the cause of global warming which can only be stopped by national health care?

    highpockets (6ec8fe)

  7. Would it be too much to ask that Obama make a similar selection for justice that Bush 41 did with Souter. Someone who is good at hiding their conservative leanings, maybe. Nah, not going to happen.

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  8. The blog Legal Insurrection has an interesting take; the Dems will have a harder time of it because now that Specter has defected, the rules of the Judiciary Committee requires the consent of at least one member of the minority. If not one Republican goes along, it is the same as a filibuster. The weak link then becomes Lindsay Graham.

    BeachBumBill (e1ef02)

  9. Politics is a long game, played over time. The sands shift and who wins at a certain point in time depends on the shifting sands.

    The Constitution is immutable, except when the winds shift to place someone in one of the highest offices of the land who is able to decide what the founding document means.

    I say this because the deciding voice in this nation is the one who votes for or against the opinion of the other members of the Court.

    And, I don’t mean President Obama. I mean the person who will replace Souter or the person who will replace whomever retires of dies next.

    I fear that Souter’s retirement will be a long, slow drift away from the intent of the founding fathers to a “feels right” interpretation of the Constitution.

    I’m not expressing this very well, but I believe there will be folks along to clarify what I’m saying.

    Ag80 (b19e67)

  10. Justice William Jefferson Clinton?

    (and I’m not sure why this came to mind all of a sudden.

    Dave (in MA) (d51df8)

  11. Re Post #10–Billy Jeff sitting in with the Supremes? Naaah, he’d never take it, not enough action.

    Mike Myers (674050)

  12. time to buy more ammo, reloading supplies, magazines and spare parts.

    the 2nd Amendment is the only court of appeal above the Supreme Court.

    redc1c4 (652677)

  13. Another glowing legacy from the Bush family brain trust. On 20 years mileage on this one and already a trade it. Souter, no doubt, drives a Chrysler Le Baron as well.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  14. #13- On = Only. it = in. Typos.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  15. Interesting coincidence that Ed Rendell dropped a subtle hint that his wife might be interested in a Supreme Court spot just yesterday after helping to broker the Specter defection.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  16. Jesus. If that’s how well you treat a defector who has faithfully toed the Democrat party line, its a wonder that anyone defects at all.

    Grow up sunshine.

    Dr. K (e70a2d)

  17. time to buy more ammo, reloading supplies, magazines and spare parts.

    the 2nd Amendment is the only court of appeal above the Supreme Court.

    Comment by redc1c4

    What does crap like this even mean? That this dude plans on shooting up a city if the Court doesn’t toe the line on the Commerce Clause? On Separation of Powers?

    You guys sure attract a weird group of gun owners

    timb (8f04c0)

  18. “However, this really won’t make much difference.”

    Lots of news that won’t make much of a difference lately. Specter, not Souter. What’s next? Snowe and Collins?

    imdw (e36369)

  19. “I fear that Souter’s retirement will be a long, slow drift away from the intent of the founding fathers to a “feels right” interpretation of the Constitution.”

    Ever since the warren court trampled state’s rights…

    imdw (e36369)

  20. Considering how supposedly “unstoppable” Obama and a “filibuster-proof” Dem Senate are, does anyone want to take a bet that Obama would be arrogant enough to appoint someone with a long paper trail, like a Cass Sunstein?

    Methinks that the Right could very well change the terms of the debate on judges with this nominee. And likely in a way that would disturb a lot of you on this thread.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  21. I don’t get your point, Brad S. Are you saying he would be that arrogant, or wouldn’t be?

    danebramage (700c93)

  22. Possible titles:

    “One man’s stand against the evils of Republicanism”

    “After you, Justice Ginsberg”

    “Individual property rights? What are those?”

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  23. Souter is the perfect example of how confusing Cocktailist Republican with Conservatism leads to bad results.

    If GBI had been a real conservative …..

    HeavenSent (637168)

  24. The rules in the Senate Judiciary Committee are about to change.

    tmac (3afd16)

  25. Whomever Obama picks can’t be much worse.

    Wanna bet?

    mojo (8096f2)

  26. I don’t think John Edwards will get it
    If ‘bama got Liz’ book and read it
    John’s soft on crime,
    And a real slime
    And has Rielle’s kid to his credit.

    The Limerick Avenger (3e4784)

  27. Did you ever think:
    Where have all the hippies gone?
    O knows where they are.

    carlitos as the Haiku Avenger (eeffbc)

  28. And it won’t be Hillary Clinton. President Obama likes her where she is now: a position in which he can give her orders, and fire her when he feels like it. 🙂

    The snarky Dana (3e4784)

  29. *shrug* Souter was a run-of-the-mill Justice who will be elevated in the history books by liberal historians because he was a disappointment to the President who appointed him and willing to lend his vote to keeping the citadel of incompetent legal reasoning that is Roe v. Wade from collapsing under its own weight. Whoever replaces him won’t shift the balance once unless, ironically, he/she turns out to be another stealth candidate like Souter himself

    M. Scott Eiland (5ccff0)

  30. Dave Souter will go
    into hist’ry as nothing
    He was just a tool

    The ORIGINAL Haiku Avenger (3e4784)

  31. If we can just keep
    The Cath’lic judges healthy
    We can wait eight years

    The ORIGINAL Haiku Avenger (3e4784)

  32. The Audacity of Appointing One’s Wife (OK, maybe the next opening.)

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  33. Surely Barry won’t appoint Shelly
    Such a move would be smelly
    ‘Course, he is Teh One
    So it could be done
    And the Court would go straight to Helly

    The Limerick Avenger (3e4784)

  34. I don’t know if I’ll ever dare to post again after that comeuppance by The LA.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  35. Frankly, a devout liberal on the Court will be an improvement from a squish like Souter. It will be a much more clear message to voters next time around that results matter.

    A liberal will be more likely to announce very liberal views in very s stark terms that can be clearly understood and debated, in the false comfort that all enlightened people have the same beliefs.

    The other positive is that John Sununu can now crawl into a hole and pull the dirt in on top of him, his saddest legacy now at an end.

    WLS Shipwrecked (53653f)

  36. Here’s someone to keep an eye on: Leah Ward Sears, a black woman is the chief justice of the Georgia State Supreme Court.

    (I hope the following link works; if not, just visit

    Bubba Maximus (456175)

  37. The Lim’rick Avenger is stumped
    ‘Cause though we’re rid of this chump
    Anyone Barry likes
    Will make us say, “Yikes!”
    The Court will become such a dump.

    The Limerick Avenger (3e4784)

  38. MD in Philly wrote:

    I don’t know if I’ll ever dare to post again after that comeuppance by The LA.

    I know the Limerick Avenger. The Limerick Avenger is a friend of mine. And MD, you have nothing to fear from LA.

    The friendly Dana (3e4784)

  39. Lindsey Graham just got an invite to lunch at the White House. Oh Noes!?!?!

    Seriously, though, LG may get courted a bit but it’s quite obvious that if they don’t get LG the Dems will simply change the rules, the media will bless it and we’ll all The script is being written this very moment.

    EBJ (2fd7f7)

  40. friendly Dana-
    I was not attributing any malice or ill will in the LA’s post, I was just commenting that it’s tough when one’s idea appears in verse from another poster. I’m not usually up for such a height of creativity. 😉

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  41. timb: What does crap like this even mean? That this dude plans on shooting up a city if the Court doesn’t toe the line on the Commerce Clause? On Separation of Powers?

    Are you really that obtuse or is it an act? The leftmost President ever gets to fill a SC seat soon and when a guy says he’d better buy his gun & ammo first, you think it’s a threat?

    Dave (in MA) (d51df8)

  42. Well, you see, on the Moron Scale, timb is off-the-scale!

    AD - RtR/OS! (f774a9)

  43. the Moron Scale

    That of course is the calibrated scale known to scientists as the Biden Scale, which goes as high as 11.0.

    Official Internet Data Office (7a989a)

  44. timb must be at least a 12 or 13!

    AD - RtR/OS! (f774a9)

  45. I have a straight-forward question:

    I was just watching ABC’s evening newscast with Charlie Gibson and some reporter was doing a story on Souter. It was the usual fawning about how Souter managed to keep the Court from turning right, yadayadayada.

    However, she also said this: “President Obama, a former constitutional law professor …”

    But Robert Gibbs said the other day that the President had not been a constitutional law professor.

    I’m just looking for a simple answer: Was Gibbs right or wrong? My money’s on him being wrong, but I am curious.

    Ag80 (b19e67)

  46. It depends on the meaning of….”professor”.

    AD - RtR/OS! (f774a9)

  47. Kim Wardlaw. You heard it here first/

    Kate (7c43ea)

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