Democrats and Republicans have mastered the Kabuki dance: The president picks a nominee who has been cautious enough on contested social issues so as not to be plausibly characterized as outside the mainstream. Senators from the opposition party complain that the nominee has not been forthcoming, or is ideologically radical; staff digs for dirt on the nominee's past but finds none. Senators from the president's party rally around the nominee. During the confirmation hearings, the nominee gives milquetoast, noncommittal answers, and comes across as likeable enough with a heartfelt personal narrative. The opposing senators decline to filibuster. The nominee joins the court. [Slate]I do find the piece interesting as it suggests that Obama has a longer game in mind--replacing Scalia after the next election. That would be most cool. Does Obama look that far into the future?
It was no accident that the president called out the Supreme Court at the State of the Union, as the justices sat before him, on the controversial decision in Citizens United opening up the corporate spending spigot. It was another Citizens United jab when Obama declared in a Rose Garden statement, upon Justice Stevens' retirement announcement, that he wants a justice who "knows that in a democracy, powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens." The president is actively running against the Supreme Court.Oh my. I wonder if people will vote in 2012 on this issue? I am not an Americanist either, so I don't know the voting lit here, but my guess would be no (or else Nader voters would not have been Nader voters).