Friday, May 1, 2009

SOUTER RETIREMENT WON'T CHANGE JUSTICE PHILOSOPHICAL MATRIX

As you read the recent retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Souter, you may have become overcome with delusions of liberal grandeur; especially if you remember who nominated him to the court, George Bush Sr. All I can say is calm down. Justice Soutar was, and is delightfully left leaning, especially for a Republican nominee. Bush Sr. nominated two Justices to the court in his tenure, Souter, who deeply disappointed him, and Thomas, who of course, did not.
Two of the Justices are enjoying advancing years (Stevens 89, and Ginsberg 76), but are decidedly liberal. No, for Obama to get a chance of moving the court left, he will need to replace one of the five conservative justices, and the odds are not nearly that good. The two eldest conservative justices are Kennedy and Scalia, both 73 years of age. Then comes Thomas at 61, Alito at 59, and Chief Justice Roberts, a spry 54.
Based on actuarial tables, here are the projected life expectancies of the remaining court....as morbid as it may seem.
Roberts (54) -- 25.14 years
Alito (58) -- 21.92 years
Thomas (60) -- 20.36 years
Souter (69) -- 13.93 years
Breyer (70) -- 13.27 years
Ginsburg (75) -- 12.29 years
Kennedy (72) -- 12.01 years
Scalia (72) -- 12.01 years
Stevens (88) -- 4.40 years
It goes without saying that Justice Stevens must consider retirement before year four of the Obama administration, or risk a one term Democratic administration, which would be a major liberal mistake making the left to right matrix 3 to 6. Justice Ginsburg at 75, might do well to do the same, if not for her career, at least her ideologies.
If you are a betting man, odds are 60% that one of the five conservative Justices will expire before 2016, the end of Obama's second term in office. The odds are practically minuscule (23%) that there will be a conservative spot open before the end of his first term in 2012, especially considering any of the five conservative justices would rather be rolled in on a dolly before they end their career during a liberal Presidents term in office.

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