“We’re about to find out immediately how much we [Democrats] have improved as a party,” writes PaulUCLA, in the comments section below. Truer words …

Patrick Leahy Letter (Via Democracy For America) below the fold. “We cannot allow the independence of our courts to be threatened by a judicial activist who places personal ideology above the law.”

Harry Reid statement (Raw Story) below the fold.” Justice O’Connor has been a voice of reason and moderation on the Court. It is vital that she be replaced by someone like her…”

SCOTUS non-partisan blogger: (via MSNBC): “The Gloves Are Off”

David Sirota: “Is That a Pool Cue in Corporate America’s Pocket, Or Are They Just Excited About the Supreme Court?” (Text below fold.)

MoveOn ad buy: Raw Story reports: MoveOn takes on Court vacancy: Remember Schiavo

ACLU Press Release: ACLU Concerned O’Connor Replacement Will Roll Back Vital Civil Liberties Protections

Raw Story: “Bush allies promise $18m ad blitz for new pick” (Raw Story links to Monday WaPo story, quoted below fold.)

Bush spoke at 11:15 AM. Very brief — thanked O’Connor, said he hopes for a “dignified” process. Bush will likely move QUICKLY. Frist just spoke on the Senate floor honoring Justice O’Connor. Harry, come on out. No name until Bush returns from Europe, per MSNBC at 12:15 PM.

(Earlier) Just in off the wires, per MSNBC: Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is retiring. She is often called a “swing vote” on the court. Nominated by President Ronald Reagan, she was approved 99-0 by the U.S. Senate. Biography.

We’ll have to brace ourselves for Bush’s nominee. Any early guesses? (Orrin Hatch, Alberto Gonzales, or one of the lesser known circuit judges?) Yahoo! News story, below the fold, has list of potential nominees:
Update [2005-7-1 15:51:34 by susanhu]:

Portion of Letter from Sen. Patrick Leahy

This morning, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement from the United States Supreme Court.

This is a momentous time in our nation’s history. The next justice will have enormous influence on a woman’s medical decisions, the rights of workers and consumers, the civil and privacy rights of us all, the enforcement of our environmental laws, how our elections are conducted, and nearly every other aspect of our lives.

We cannot allow the independence of our courts to be threatened by a judicial activist who places personal ideology above the law. The Supreme Court is no place for fringe judges. And the Senate is not a rubber stamp for any president’s nominations.

Join me in calling for inclusive, thoughtful deliberations during this process:

Read full letter.

Thank you,

Senator Patrick Leahy

Ranking Democratic Member, Senate Judiciary Committee

Update [2005-7-1 12:16:3 by susanhu]: Harry Reid:

Statement from Democratic Senate leader Reid


Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has been an inspirational figure to all Americans. As the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, she blazed a trail that many will follow. As a Westerner, she brought to the Court a love of the land and an appreciation for individual rights. And as a former state legislator, she had a practical sense of how to balance the will of the majority with the rights of the minority …

Above all, Justice O’Connor has been a voice of reason and moderation on the Court. It is vital that she be replaced by someone like her, someone who embodies the fundamental American values of freedom, equality and fairness.

The decisions handed down by the Supreme Court profoundly affect the daily lives of all Americans. The Court is the final guardian of our constitutional rights and liberties. That is why the process of filling a Supreme Court vacancy is so important.

The Constitution gives the President and the Senate shared responsibility to fill this vacancy, because the President may only act with the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate. At this critical moment, the President must recognize the Senate’s constitutional role. He should give life to the Advice and Consent Clause by engaging in meaningful consultation with Senators of both political parties.

Working with the Senate, the President should identify a highly qualified candidate whose views are within the broad constitutional mainstream and who will make all Americans proud. With this nomination the President should choose to unite the country, not divide it. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in the Senate to fill this critical vacancy.

Update [2005-7-1 12:37:40 by susanhu]:

David Sirota:

Is That a Pool Cue in Corporate America’s Pocket, Or Are They Just Excited About the Supreme Court?

[A] group of sweaty, cigar-smoking executives and lobbyists are right now sitting around a mahogany conference table somewhere on K Street rubbing their greasy palms together and plotting how to make sure that just the right corporate hack will replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. …

[T]he media will make this whole story about the Religious Right vs. Evil Secular Liberals. But behind the curtains in a dark little peep-show-like room, Corporate America will be busy lubing up the process and panting with glee as they take over our judiciary.

[T]he Wall Street Journal [gets] the real story. There you will find a story about how Corporate America is already scheming. Here are some of the excerpts:

Business cases, many concerning the reach of regulation and interaction of state and federal governments, consume a large chunk of the Supreme Court’s docket. Now for the first time, the National Association of Manufacturers, which represents big corporations, is creating a committee of executives to screen the business rulings of prospective nominees…Two lower-court judges have drawn interest in corporate circles because they represented companies on regulatory matters before going on the federal bench: John Roberts of the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals and Michael McConnell of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver…

John Engler [head of the National Association of Manufacturers] began making the rounds in Washington, pitching a new corporate activism on judicial nominations. He informed the offices of the White House counsel and political adviser Karl Rove about his plans. He met privately with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and other top Republicans…This month, as speculation heightened about Mr. Rehnquist’s possible resignation, Mr. Engler and his executive committee approved a creation of an endorsement process for Supreme Court nominees. A new committee of executives will vet any White House nominee based on his or her business rulings.

… Reporters seem to prefer the fake storyline of “conservative” vs. “liberal” as opposed to the real storyline of “Big Money” vs. “Ordinary Americans.” … Corporate America is going to be spending millions to make sure they get who they want. …


Justice O’Connor retires

Wall Street Journal on Corporate America’s scheming about Supreme Court nominees:

Previous post about how it is Big Money vs. Ordinary Americans:

MoveOn ad buy, Raw Story. Go to link to view text of story and of MoveOn ad.

ACLU Concerned O’Connor Replacement Will Roll Back Vital Civil Liberties Protections. Go to site to read text.

For more information, go to: ACLU Supreme Court

We’d better donate to the ACLU too.

Update [2005-7-1 10:58:22 by susanhu]: WaPo Monday story on gearing up for court battle:

The White House gathered key political operatives at a strategy meeting Friday to prepare for a possible Supreme Court vacancy …

The meeting, hosted by White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr., his deputy Karl Rove and counsel Harriet Miers, was called to ensure that President Bush’s supporters are ready for the high-stakes, high-intensity, high-dollar campaign that would follow a nomination. But some participants later told associates that they were not sure if any justice would retire.

[This article speculated about Rehnquist, not O’Connor.]


By most accounts, it would rival a presidential campaign, complete with extensive television advertising, mass e-mails, special Internet sites, opposition research, public rallies and news conferences. Both Democrats and Republicans have been raising money for this moment for years. The president’s allies have promised to bankroll an $18 million public relations blitz, and administration opponents have set up a war room and enlisted veterans of the campaigns of Bill Clinton and Al Gore to devise strategy.

“This has been such a huge political spectacle that this is not your run-of-the-mill confirmation hearing,” said Kenneth M. Duberstein, a former Reagan White House chief of staff who shepherded two high court appointments through the Senate for President George H.W. Bush. “This is a fundamental decision about the future of the Supreme Court. Everybody’s eyes are peeled, and the far left and the far right are ready.”

Portion of Yahoo! News story:

Possible replacements include Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and federal courts of appeals judges J. Michael Luttig, John Roberts, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Michael McConnell, Emilio Garza and James Harvie Wilkinson III. Others mentioned are former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, lawyer Miguel Estrada and former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson, but Bush’s pick could be a surprise choice not well known in legal circles.

Another prospective candidate is Edith Hollan Jones, a judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who was also considered for a Supreme Court vacancy by President Bush’s father.

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