And after Judge Roberts is confirmed...

Sure seems Judge Roberts is going to be confirmed as our next Chief Justice. The Washington Post has come out with an editorial urging his confirmation. If a newspaper like this (hardly a bastion of conservatism) comes out in favor of him...

So who's next. I am pleased that Judge Roberts is going to replace Rehnquist. Now Dubyah, and we as well, can start thinking about who should replace O'connor.

My hope has, for awhile now, been that Dubyah would select Alberto Gonzalez as O'Connor's replacement. This is not asking for Dubyah to make too great a leap. He selected Alberto to be Attorney General after all. Dubyah seems to hold a pretty high opinion of Mr Gonzalez, so why not just tap him as the next nominee?

If this does not happen I'll tell you why. Because it will upset his Christian Conservative base. Days before O'Connor announced her impending retirement the Rev Dobson, on his large Christian Radio network, was beating the bushes trying to get his audience worked up to write to Dubyah about the next nominee. The Rev Dobson seemed to have advance notice that something was up (although he seemed to think it was Rehnquist who would retire). The Rev Dobson also specifically targeted Alberto Gonzalez as being unacceptable as a nominee. You see Alberto is unacceptable to them because while he might be a conservative he has also proven that he would not be an activist judge. For the same reason I find him to be so acceptable, he is unacceptable to the Rev Dobson. Right wing, yes. Activist, no. Despite what the Rev Dobson preaches about how he hates activist judges he has proven that it is not judicial activism he dislikes. He's all in favor of judicial activism, he just wants the activists to come from the right wing.

But let us also explore what is going to happen AFTER we find out who Dubyah is going to tap to replace O'Connor. There are nine Supreme Court Justices after all.

Justice Stevens indicated he felt he could last out the current Bush term. Brave man is that Justice Stevens. He is already 85 years old, and probably deserves to be able to retire and kick back for a little while in his senior years. But nope. He is going to keep his nose to the grind stone and hope the Democrats actually win the next election.

But what happens if the Democrats LOSE the next election? Justice Stevens is going to turn 89 years old shortly after the next President takes office. He is going to be well into his nineties by the time the next term ends. Can Democrats, if they really are concerned about who sits on the Supreme Court, afford to lose another election? If they do, they could be looking at the likes of someone like Dubyah tapping who is going to replace Stevens. We're not going to be talking about replacing a right wing Justice like Rehnquist with another right wing candidate. We're going to be talking about a replacement who really can shake up the balance of power on the Supreme Court.

Justice Stevens might agree, once again, to try to last it out and give the Democrats yet ANOTHER shot at winning an election if, once again, the Democrats lose. However somewhere along the line the law of averages is going to catch up with him. (Knock on wood I hope and pray Justice Stevens has a long life.)

But if Democrats really are concerned about who serves in the Supreme Court (and I agree they should) they better start get serious about coming up with a candidate that can actually win an election. They can filibuster all they want, but it is the Executive Branch that gets to make the nomination. You are never going to see the likes of Dubyah nominating a "liberal lion" to replace the likes of Stevens. Best case is you are going to get a repeat of Judge Roberts. Even Alberto Gonzalez is unacceptable.

So what should Democrats do about it? Well if Democrats are serious about winning an election they can read my "Election 2008" post that I put up a few days ago. They can try actually nominating someone who stands a chance of winning an election!


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