Associate US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has notified the White House of his intention to retire, having publicly mulled the idea for awhile.
His replacement? That's always the $64 question, isn't it?
Is there anyone President Obama could nominate and not have the GOP all up on his ass about it? I don't think so -- although it would be fun to listen to a few weeks of Republican griping about "that communist, Robert Bork" or "that hippie, Andrew Napolitano."
I suspect he'll pick a woman. There are two on the court at the moment, but Ginsburg's health has been going downhill for awhile; eventually there will be a 5-4 gender mix on the court, and I'm sure he'd like to be the guy who keeps pushing it in that direction.
He'll probably pick a sitting or former judge, and almost certainly a lawyer, even though there's no legal requirement that he do so.
The smart money is on Solicitor General Elena Kagan, but he'd be better off holding her in reserve as a compromise after his first appointee gets knocked around the ring.
The way I see it, he might as well go for broke first -- take the initiative, put the thing into circus mode from the git-go at his instigation instead of on the Republicans' timetable, let the Republicans throw their tantrum, then walk it back.
The sacrificial lamb I have in mind is an Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and Director of Northwestern's Children and Family Justice Center. She's passed the New York and Illinois bar exams, but doesn't hold a license to practice law. She's a well-known and thoroughly vetted public figure (the subject of books and documentary films, even), and her husband is well-known as a Friend of Barack.
How's that for an attempt to overload the GOP's outrage breakers?