Thursday, April 30, 2009

Justice Souter to step down; Obama will make first Court pick

Reportedly, U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire after the current term ends in June. That means President Obama will make his first nomination to the Court -- something pro-life advocates have been dreading. The fate of the Court (and, with it, Roe v. Wade) was a major reason why the '08 presidential election was so consequential.

Most think that the Court is currently divided 5 to 4 in favor of upholding Roe v. Wade and a Constitutional right to abortion (Justices Scalia and Thomas are sure bets against Roe, and Roberts and Alito, I hope, would vote to overturn Roe). Souter is one of the five pro-Roe justices, so replacing him with another pro-Roe justice won't alter the balance on the Court. But it will put a (probably) young, probably very pro-Roe justice on the Court for perhaps the next few decades.

It will be interesting to see how far left the president chooses to go with his first nomination, and how the Senate will react in the confirmation hearings. Here's one early prediction for Obama's nominee -- a "scary liberal," of course.