July 01, 2005

O'Connor Retiring (tip to VC)

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a Reagan appointee and the first woman on the Supreme Court, is retiring at the end of the term. She is 75 and has served on the Court for 24 years. This will be the first appointment to SCOTUS in 11 years, and the first of Bush's presidency.

The obvious opening is that replacing O'Connor with a Justice that opposes the Stenberg v. Carhart ruling would tip the court on partial-birth abortion. However, the right to abortion itself, under something like Casey, would still very likely be maintained by Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy.

Here's hoping Bush makes a good nomination. No doubt the left groups like People for the American Way will grouse about a filibuster and will smear the nominee. The vote will probably not be one those near-unanimous affairs. There's a good chance the nominee will be a woman, since it's O'Connor's seat. That would also make it much harder to unfairly smear the nominee as an old, rich, white man that wants to "turn back the clock."

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