Filling a vacant Supreme Court seat is always a challenge for a President. There’s literally dozens of names that the Commander In Chief has to pick from, all of which are highly qualified. Each name is thought over, argued, and debated by everyone and anyone in the political circle, and rightfully so. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and whatever selection is made will directly affect the citizens of the United States.
His pick will have to be approved by Congress and this will require more debate on the subject. President Obama isn’t a stranger to this process (President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor in May of 2009 to replace the open court justice seat left by justice David Souter). President Obama is about to have this process happen to him all over again when he nominates his pick for new Supreme Court Justice to replace John Paul Stevens. Despite the long list of qualified individuals, many are saying that the President has already chosen his pick for the seat and will announce who that is come Monday.
The word in Washington is that President Obama is expected to nominated Solicitor General and former law dean of Harvard, Elena Kegan. This isn’t a surprise for many in Washington considering that Kegan has been the frontrunner since the news of Stevens stepping down was announced a few weeks ago. Reports have it that the pick is so expected in Washington that if Kegan isn’t named to the Supreme Court by next week many will be nothing less than shocked.
Whomever the President picks for the seat, it’s bound to be an interesting move that will say much about where he hopes the Supreme Court will be going in the upcoming years and how they will judge the laws they will be upholding.
Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens announced last week that he would retire from the Supreme Court at the end of the court’s current term. This is important news for both the Supreme Court and for President Obama considering that now the search begins for the President to find Stevens’ replacement. The longest serving and oldest member of the court (Stevens is 90 years old) will step down this summer as he stated in a letter to the President last week.
Named to the court in 1975 by then President Gerald Ford, Stevens has been the foundation of the court when it comes to follow the ideas of the constitution and liberal ideology for decades. Stevens hopes that his views on abortion rights, protection for homosexuals, and defending the rights of average citizens over big interests stands as his legacy – outlasting his retirement. Yet, as big as the news that Stevens is retiring happens to be, the bigger story may be the President’s search for the new justice.
President Obama stated that Stevens’ successor would be in place for the senate to vote on by the beginning of the new term for the court in October. He also went on to say that the nominee would be an “independent mind” who would have a record of excellence in dedication to law and how the law affects the American people. Some names that have been swirling around on the short list for potential nominees have been Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Judge Ann Claire Williams, and even current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.