Friday, July 01, 2005

Sandra Day O'Connor Announces Retirement

The countdown to armageddon has finally begun.

Sandra Day O'Connor, one of the "moderate" voices of the court, who often voted unpredictably to either the right or the left, has announced her retirement from the SCOTUS. This is big, big news. As Captain Ed put it, many of those on the left are clamoring that this will be a battle to uphold Roe v. Wade, and maintain a delicate Liberal/Conservative/Centrist balance on the Court. He also surmised that with a Rehnquist withdrawal, nobody would be worried about another conservative being nominated to the court, but the replacement of O'Connor will be a huge deal to those on the left. He expects the Democrats to lock arms right down the party line.

Bench Memos, an NRO blog, has already written scores of posts about this. Too much for me to link any one or two posts (well, this one starts it all off). And the NRO editors already dealt with the idea of Alberto Gonzales as the next Supreme Court Justice.

What should we expect in the upcoming political battles? Whether it is Gonzales or someone else, President Bush will nominate a conservative to the court. Democrats in Congress, especially some of the usual suspects, will cry about needing only a simple majority to elect someone to a lifetime position, Bush electing "polarizing" figures to the court that won't respect American jurisprudence, and the value of the filibuster.

Though I don't know if all of the Republicans will vote to confirm Bush's nominee (given the presence of so many RINOs), the Democrats will threaten to filibuster the nominee. Will this cause Frist and the rest of the Senate Republicans to finally bring down the axe that is the "nuclear option"? Will they eliminate the 60 vote requirement for moving a nominee to a floor vote? That I cannot predict. I'd like to think so. I'd like to think that the Senate Republicans would show some leadership and mettle where it really counts, but there's no way to be sure.

In fact, this battle could potentially last into the beginnings of the 2006 races, and there's no telling what kind of impact that will have. Will Republicans vote along party lines in order to appease their constituents? Will conservative voters react negatively to Republican floundering on the issue? Will the public, in general, vote in more Republicans in retaliation for Democrat obstructionism?

Like I said, only time will tell. But this I do know: What happens in the next few weeks, even months, will change the dynamics of politics for many years to come (and I really wish I was putting it that way just for dramatic effect).

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