Obama Can Pick Radical Abortion Advocate if Stevens Leaves Supreme Court Now
by Steven Ertelt
April 6, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Political pundits are weighing in on what is expected to become the biggest news story affecting the pro-life community following President Barack Obama’s signing the pro-abortion health care bill. The potential retirement of pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens could shake up politics.
As LifeNews.com has reported, Stevens said over the weekend that he will definitely retire during Obama’s tenure and reiterated how he will make a decision soon.
Last month, Stevens gave a time period in an interview that places his potential retirement announcement sometime in early-mid April.
Although one Democratic senator intimately involved in previous Supreme Court confirmation battles, Arlen Specter, said it would be better for Democrats if Stevens’ retirement came after the elections — saying it would put another bruising political battle ahead of them — conservative writer Byron York argues otherwise.
"Even though Obama will be in office for three more years, there is one particularly pressing reason Democrats would like to see Stevens go now rather than later. That reason is coming up this November," York writes in a new column at the Washington Examiner.
"Democratic leaders know their 59-vote majority in the Senate will likely shrink after the midterm elections. It’s a long shot, but Republicans might even win control of the Senate altogether," he explains. "That scenario would be a nightmare for the White House, but even continued Democratic rule with a smaller majority would give the president less flexibility in choosing a successor to Stevens. And the narrower the Democratic majority, the greater the possibility Republicans might filibuster a particularly objectionable Obama nominee."
York says history shows a narrow majority lends itself to filibusters.
He points out how Republicans became victim to the filibuster in 2003 with a two vote majority, but saw the filibuster go out the window when they expanded that to a 10 vote majority in 2004.
"If Stevens were to resign soon, and his successor’s confirmation take place before November, there would be virtually no chance of a filibuster no matter how extraordinary the circumstances," York writes. "With 59 votes, Democrats would need just one Republican to join with them to reach a filibuster-proof 60 votes. Republicans could win only by keeping every one of their 41 senators in line, and there’s almost no possibility that would happen."
The numbers matter because the current 18-vote majority Democrats now enjoy gives Obama the opportunity to select a strongly pro-abortion jurist more radical than he might nominate under different political circumstances.
"So the calculation for Democrats is this: With 59 votes, the president can nominate anybody he wants. With 52 votes, he’d probably have to pick a more centrist nominee if he wants to ensure against a possible GOP blockade. Is it any wonder why the White House is virtually holding the door open for Stevens to make his exit?" he concludes.
Given the political analysis that Obama and Democrats may go for a more polemic Supreme Court nominee before the elections, the names coming out so far as the leading potential picks include two hardcore abortion advocates, Diane Wood and Elana Kagan.
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