Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Advise and Consent, Part I. I believe that Justice John Paul Stevens will announce his retirement from the Supreme Court soon -- by the end of the term in June. Stevens is 84 and has served on the Court for 29 years. He is the most liberal member of the current court, but nevertheless, a Republican from a strong Democrat party town, Chicago. See, Manaster, Illinois Justice: The Scandal of 1969 and the Rise of John Paul Stevens [review] (on the other hand, many bios note, as does this one, "he had never been active in party politics.")

Part of my thinking is shaped by Steven's Republican ties and part are shaped by the knowledge of his abilities as a strategist (namely, he is a world-class bridge player). If you put yourself in Steven's shoes, when would be a good time to turn over the reins?

I believe it would be this summer. This would allow a Republican president to name a successor, yet force him to go "left" to get a "moderate" through. The thinking being, if Bush nominates a Robert Bork-style conservative, it might galvanize the opposition and tie up the Senate in a heated, distracting debate before the elections. Moreover, if the first candidate is rejected, it could give Kerry a chance to name a successor. Applying a "game theory," this might force Bush to choose someone more moderate, say, Ricardo Hinojosa [interview], thinking it would minimize the opposition and guarantee a less objectionable nomininee not be chosen.

Yet, is this what Bush would choose to do? Is this what he should do?

More later...

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